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A Guide to Ethical Research with Refugees and Displaced People

By Christina Clark-Kazak

Research can contribute to a better understanding of the diverse experiences of forced migration. When done well such research can inform policy and programming, but it can also cause inconvenience and harm to research respondents. In situations of forced migration, the stakes are particularly high because of precarious legal status, unequal power relations, far-reaching anti-terrorism legislation, racism and the criminalization of migration. In response to the increased, often well-intentioned, interest in working with displaced peoples (refugees or others who are forced to migrate) the Canadian Council for Refugees (, York’s Centre for Refugee Studies ( and the Canadian Association for Refugee and Forced Migration Studies ( collaborated to generate principles with specific ethical considerations for research with people in situations of forced migration. We hope such a praxis-based document written by, and for, those engaged in the field -as well as those who are primarily involved in research – can complement existing formal ethical guidelines set up by academic and organizational institutions such as ethics review boards.