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Title: Researching Friendship Agreements in East Timor: Problems, issues and dilemmas faced in fieldwork
Contributor(s): Ninnes, Fiona Marion (author)
Publication Date: 2007
Open Access: Yes
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Abstract: From 1999 to early 2006, 45 Friendship Agreements were established between various Australian local councils/communities and East Timorese district administrations/communities. These bi-lateral agreements have been set up to assist the peacebuilding process by creating strong relationships between the two communities involved. Not far from Australia, East Timor, a small, independent nation since May 2002, is bordered by Indonesia in the west, the Strait of Wetar in the north and the Timor Sea in the south. The land is very rugged - full of craggy mountain peaks, steep valleys and wide riverbeds. It is one of the poorest countries in the world with approximately 40% of the population living in poverty (UNDP 2006). Sadly, after atraumatic beginning, followed by a few years of relative calm, the country recently plummeted back into civil unrest. This paper is derived from formative evaluation research (Mikkelsen 1995) that explored the views of many Timorese (from 17 Friendship Agreements) about the perceived successes and challenges so far and recommendations for the future. I discuss various problems, issues and dilemmas that had an impact on doing fieldwork in East Timor including: the logistical issues of poor communication and transport networks; security issues in working in a post-conflict situation; collecting data in an unknown language and working with a translator; experiencing how the social structure of the society can both help and hinder research; and the impact of the gender structure on the research and the researcher.
Publication Type: Conference Publication
Conference Name: Inaugural Postgraduate Research Conference: Bridging the Gap between Ideas and Doing Research, Armidale, Australia, 8th - 11th August, 2006
Source of Publication: Bridging the Gap between Ideas and Doing Research: Proceedings of the Inaugural Postgraduate Research Conference, p. 240-248
Publisher: Australian College of Educators
Place of Publication: Deakin West, Australia
Field of Research (FOR): 160807 Sociological Methodology and Research Methods
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: E1 Refereed Scholarly Conference Publication
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