Reflecting on research: researcher identity in conflict studies from the perspectives of participants

OM Ulug*, YG Acar, B Kanik

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


While researchers have long discussed the impact that ingroup–outgroup identities may have on participant–researcher dynamics, no previous study that we know of has investigated how these identities impact participants’ decisions to participate in research in conflict contexts. In this study, we aimed to examine participants’ perspectives on their decisions to participate in research and how those decisions may be related to both their and the researchers’ identities as well as other important dynamics, such as political ideology. We used the Turkish–Kurdish conflict as a case and examined participants’ perspectives on Turkish researchers in this conflict context. More specifically, we investigated (1) opinions and feelings about Turkish researchers; (2) reasons for (not) participating in research by Turkish researchers; (3) the ways Turkish researchers affect participants’ decisions; and (4) attitudes toward Kurdish researchers. We used a survey with open-ended questions to explore participants’ perspectives and analysed the data from 137 participants who identify as Kurdish using qualitative content analysis. Results highlighted the important opinions and feelings about Turkish researchers such as researchers’ ideological positions, objectivity, and sincerity, as well as how researchers’ other identities may affect participants’ evaluations of their research and how Kurdish researchers are perceived by Kurdish participants. We discuss the ingroup–outgroup dynamics together with other identities in relation to existing identity literature, as well as practical implications of our research for participant recruitment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)847-861
Number of pages15
JournalEuropean Journal of Social Psychology
Issue number6
Early online date23 Jul 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2021


  • Kurdish conflict
  • Conflict settings
  • Insider
  • Outsider
  • Reflexivity
  • Research participants


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