Researching issues surrounding gender in Iran has always been challenging due to its highly politicised nature. This panel will present the methodological and ethical challenges which researchers and academics encounter while investigating sensitive issues surrounding gender in Iran.
Academic activities surrounding sensitive issues are not often viewed favourably in autocratic regions where there is a culture of surveillance. Investigating gender related issues such as gender based violence and national and international policies and regulations in relation to women's rights have been and will be emotive topics for activists and academics (both inside and outside of Iran). Investigating these matters, sometimes, carry a significant risk and might lead to unwelcome and undesirable consequences. Researchers might find themselves in highly volatile and complicated situations they sometimes compromise their own safety in the process of data collection and at the same time they must prioritise their participants' safety and well-being. As well as safety issues, the panel will discuss methodological concerns such as self-representation, transparency, insider and outsider factors during the fieldwork as well as translational challenges at all stages of research from fieldwork to analysis. Furthermore, disseminating and publicising the research will be discussed as they often add more complications to the pre-existing problems. The panellists intend to confer their own experiences of doing research in Iran and Iranian community in diaspora and offer solutions and suggestions in how to deal with some of these ethical and methodological challenges hoping to pave the way for future studies. Paper's titles: (Co-convenor 1): Researching gender based violence amongst Iranian in the UK and Iran: the conflictual nature of the insider /outsider status. (Co-convenor 2): Conceptual framework of elite female politicians in Iran: ethical and methodological aspects.