The Humanitarian Encyclopedia project addresses four specific questions.
An innovative interdisciplinary research approach builds synergies and promotes cross-fertilization between:
- Experts in concept and content analysis: The Humanitarian Encyclopedia draws on the latest advances in linguistic, data-mining, and computer science to analyse the diversity of humanitarian language in a large corpus of reference documents including.
- Disciplinary experts in humanitarian action: The project brings together experts from all the disciplines producing knowledge of humanitarian action. Working together, these experts interpret the results of the text-based analysis of concepts, provide complementary data, and develop research protocols to analyse the causes and impacts of concept variation.
- Emerging and long-standing research traditions on humanitarian action: Beyond interdisciplinarity, the Humanitarian Encyclopedia brings together a large array of cultural and historical perspectives on humanitarian action. Participants from crisis-affected states in the Middle East, Turkey, Africa, Asia, and Latin America shed a common light on how to grasp ‘non-traditional’ and emerging uses of humanitarian concepts.
Drawing upon the disciplinary expertise and research traditions of its scholarly experts, the Humanitarian Encyclopedia adopts a mixed-methods approach to the collection and analysis of data in the humanitarian sector. Qualitative and quantitative techniques will be used including quantitative analyses, case studies, focus groups, interviews, and experimental methods.
The active involvement of the end-users of the Humanitarian Encyclopedia is essential at each stage of the research process, increasing the impact of the research and its appropriation. Humanitarian practitioners:
- Define the scope of the research, by selecting the entries of the Humanitarian Encyclopedia;
- Identify research questions and hypotheses;
- Contribute to the data collection process;
- Critically discuss the research results by providing complementary insights on best practices and operational challenges in applying concepts on the ground.