In this chapter, we have described how we used a peer research approach to gather quantitative and qualitative data from Syrian migrants and refugees. Alaa’s experiential testimonies and reflections as a peer researcher show how peer research can strengthen knowledge production by facilitating improved communication and trust between researchers and research participants, creating richer data. However, Alaa also had to navigate difficult dilemmas that arose and were amplified by her many roles - as researcher, sister, role model and translator - when acting as a node between her allegiance to the study participants or the ‘rigour’ of the study. Alaa’s experiences have taught us the importance of ongoing ethical discussions and preparations for peer researchers working in migrant and refugee research. Often, access to, communicating with and the development of trust and rapport with research participants does not always extend beyond the peer researcher. This poses specific challenges pertaining to the translation and analytic work required to disseminate findings in academic and policy spaces. Peer research should be facilitated by transparent procedures relating to the dilemmas faced by the peer researcher in their brokerage between different roles, and social support from research colleagues who understand, respect and create safe social spaces for dialogue about these dilemmas. By so doing, it is possible to embrace and act upon the ethical complexities that peer research approaches inevitably introduce.
We thank participants for their time and insights. We also thank colleagues within the research consortium for input and support. The RefugeesWellSchool
Socio-ethical issues in peer research 173 project (2018-22) is funded by Horizon 2020 (EU) (https://cordis.europa.eu/ project/rcn/212677_en.html).
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