Tomayto, tomahto: the research supply chain and the ethics of knowledge production

Journal articles or issues
December 2015
Rebecca Tapscott and Deval Desai
This is the first post in a series exploring the changing nature of knowledge production in fragile states.

It argues that while development research practices have changed greatly over the last 50 years, thoughts around qualitative research have not; it is still understood as the individual exercise of research methods to produce knowledge about the world that can then be taken up by governance actors of all stripes.

In contrast, the authors here argue that today we must understand research as a systemic intervention within the broader context of globalisation and international development. Therefore, it is argued, we should start with the political economy of contemporary research to rethink the political and ethical implications of the research that we do.

The authors explain what this means for international development, exploring two frameworks for understanding qualitative research in fragile contexts, before going on to suggest an alternative framework – the research supply chain.