Action research is mainly concerned with the entrenchment of social change through social interventions that involves the beneficiaries as key participators. The study documents the experience of the researcher in conducting action themed research in two adversarial communities in North-Central Nigeria. The core goals of the study are to draw attention to the usefulness of this approach for peacebuilding research and to also shed light on some of the complexities associated with this kind of research. A research diary was employed to document events and reflections as they unfolded during the fieldwork. A combination of a harsh social climate and the invasive nature of the research functioned to deepen the conventional limitations associated with projects of this nature in the research settings. Challenges were encountered in the areas of access to information, researchers’ identity, and emotive interaction with the process. Disruptive difficulties were also experienced during the intervention stage of the research where emerging developments in the social-political climate in both communities had drastic effects on the research. The navigation of these challenges was facilitated by a step-by-step application of simple methodological and practical principles that facilitated data collection without compromising the scientific rigour of the study. The primacy placed on values such as sensitivity, resilience, genuine commitment for the welfare of the communities was also instrumental for actualising the research goals. The study recommends the inclusion of non-formal techniques such as observation and informal conversations in data collection processes in conflict communities. To optimise productivity, change oriented researchers may benefit from a preliminary assessment of the potential methodological and practical difficulties inherent in the research context.
action research, conflict communities, peacebuilding, social change, methodological challenges, participation, identity
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Recommended APA Citation
Akande, O. D. (2021). The Challenges of Implementing Action Research in a Divided Context: A Field Account. The Qualitative Report, 26(8), 2502-2520. https://doi.org/10.46743/2160-3715/2021.4658