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Autobiography Creation and Construction of Social Memory: A Tool for Conducting Ethical Research With Survivors of the Colombian Armed Conflict

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By: Nathalia Salamanca Sarmiento Published: 2019 | Product: SAGE Research Methods Cases
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Abstract

All research projects have to ensure that they are carried out ethically, protecting research participants from potential harm now and in the future. After several years working on the topic of child soldiering in Colombia, I started my postgraduate studies in 2012 because of a personal interest in finding ethical ways to work with young people who were recruited by armed groups in their childhood. This case study provides a personal account of trying to find an appropriate research method to work on my topic. First, it discusses the importance of considering ethics with my research participants. Second, it shows how my ethical considerations guided my search and selection of a research methodology, Autobiography Creation and Construction of Social Memory (Relato autobiográfico y construcción de memoria social), with the creative writing workshops “I’ll be the one to tell my story” (Mi cuento lo cuento yo), delving on how I conducted my research to find this particular method. Finally, I discuss the pros and cons of this method. I hope that sharing this experience will allow other researchers to place ethical considerations at the forefront of their methodological explorations.

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