Dr Philipp Amour writes on the challenges of field research in the Middle East

Philipp Amour has published an article entitled ‘Practical, Theoretical, and Methodological Challenges of Field Research in the Middle East’ in Historical Methods: A Journal of Quantitative and Interdisciplinary History (Vol. 45, No. 3, 2012), in which he outlines and explores some of the challenges that field research can present when working in an often difficult and hostile setting.

He writes, "Many academic projects require fieldwork because the literature available to researchers in their home countries is often limited. Moreover, many studies would not be feasible without field research, and would lack any significant explanatory power if they were only based on secondary literature... One of the main problems that I was confronted with on-site, and one which many social scientists encounter too, is that “traditional” Western theory and methodology adequately prepare undergraduate and graduate students for carrying out research in their own societies, but neither prepare them for dealing with difficult research circumstances, nor do they train students for conflict areas in post-traumatic societies. Such history (and political science) courses seem to be functional and have roots in European reality."

A summary of the issues in this paper can also be found in an article that Philipp has written for Politics in Spires, entitled 'Field Research in Conflict Zones'.