Theoretical, Methodological and Ethical Problems Involved in Conflict Research Efforts in African Indigenous Communities
This study set out to explore the core problems that inhere in conflict research practice in an indigenous African environment. Cardinal among these problems were those of choice of theory, choice of methodology land, of course, concomitant ethical issues. With regard to theory, the reality on the ground in terms of Ezeship (kingship) conflicts, the bakassi boys conflict and the boko haram conflict led the researcher to choose qualitative research methodology rather than the quantitative option. Furthermore, the grounded theory approach was upheld as a way of following up on the research subjects and principal actors as they progressively construct their realities in the face of seeming and overt practical contradictory actions.
Besides the choice of theory, the methodology for data collection was to pose a problem. The work of Robert Merton was to come to rescue in this regard via the application of the insider-outsider categories. Ethical issues that surfaced included how to guarantee the safety of the research team and the issue of remuneration of those working with the lead researcher. Finally, the researcher uncovered the fact that caution and prudence need come into play with respect to the way conflict research findings are made available to communities, governments and policy makers.