Welcome to the Challenging Research Network

The Challenging Research Network is a group of friendly researchers and academics who work in complex, emotionally demanding, and politically charged research territories. We span the humanities and social sciences, across all career stages, and we meet regularly to discuss the complex methodological and ethical issues we face in our work, and to support each other in a safe, confidential, and welcoming online space.  

From the ethical quandaries of working with sensitive sources to uncovering potentially distressing events, whether in the archives or with research participants, we recognise that this research can impact the mental and physical health of all concerned, including the researcher. Our group is open to discussing issues facing researchers in this difficult terrain, and welcome suggestions for future topics.

Currently, our group hosts:  

  • Three large group meetings each year (one per term) when invited speakers share their experience on pressing issues of the day (currently online) 
  • Bi-monthly, mini lunchtime sessions when colleagues bring a particular ethical or methodological dilemma to the table (currently online) 
  • A website with resources, links and blogs 

If you would like more information, or to join our group, please visit our Contact page and send us an email.

Future and Past Events

March Group Meeting

Challenges and opportunities of

research on death, the dead

& the dying

9 March 2023


April ‘Bring your challenge to lunch’ Session

Topic TBD

April 2023 Date TBD

Time TBD

Past ‘Bring your challenge to lunch’ Session

When is a source unusable?

December 2022

Past Group Meeting

Violence in the archives

June 2022

Past ‘Bring your challenge to lunch’ Session


May 2022

Past Group Meeting

Conducting interviews in methodologically

complex, emotionally demanding, or

politically charged contexts

March 2022

Past ‘Bring your challenge to lunch’ Session

Public Engagement

February 2022

Past Group Meeting

Teaching and Public Engagement on sensitive topics

February 2022

Past ‘Bring your challenge to lunch’ Session


November 2021

Past Group Meeting

Challenging images

August 2021

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