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Below you will find anonymous questions and answers posted to this site as well as reflections we have collected from the policy engaged scholars. Anyone can ask an anonymous question and our Ethical Engagement Panel responds, also anonymously. You can learn more about members of this panel on our About page). For the reflections, policy engaged scholars, many from our Ethical Engagement Panel, have responded to a similar set of questions about how they have managed an ethically challenging moment. We hope these serve as resources to assist academics in reflecting on and improving their own engagement practices. On this page, you can scroll through these resources are listed chronologically.

Questions

Date submitted: April 10, 2022

Question Summary:

Compensation for meetings/presentations

Engagement Experiences:

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Date submitted: February 28, 2022

Question Summary:

Political Economy Analysis with an International Organization

Issue Areas: Engagement Experiences:

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Date submitted: June 16, 2020

Question Summary:

Proper disclosure vs. taking credit for behind-the-scenes policy advice

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Date submitted: March 30, 2020

Question Summary:

Misuse of research by violent actors

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Date submitted: March 14, 2020

Question Summary:

Is there an ethical issue involved in looking at the pandemic as a research opportunity?

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Date submitted: March 7, 2020

Question Summary:

Engagement with Trump Administration

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Date submitted: January 21, 2020

Question Summary:

How much do I need to know to engage media

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Date submitted: January 6, 2020

Question Summary:

Consulting fees/rates

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Date submitted: November 22, 2019

Question Summary:

How to be relevant when researching both sides of a conflict

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Date submitted: November 18, 2019

Question Summary:

Engaging with media from authoritarian regimes

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Date submitted: October 24, 2019

Question Summary:

Changing assessments based on sponsor sensitivities?

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Date submitted: October 4, 2019

Question Summary:

Help? I’m trapped in a broom closet!

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Date submitted: September 9, 2019

Question Summary:

Can I go back to the editors of a website and defend a point?

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Date submitted: September 5, 2019

Question Summary:

Conflict of interest?

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Reflections

“Just War” Debates and Evolving Uses of Force

Daniel Brunstetter

The challenges:

  • Moving beyond academic critique and arm’s length critiques of defense policy from a “just war” perspective to discussions within military circles based on a more interdisciplinary perspective
  • Engaging with future peace and security policymakers to update the “moral vocabulary” around the use of force to take into account the new dilemmas of

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Issue Areas: , Type of Engagement:

Ethical Concerns on a Research Project

Sarah Parkinson

The challenges:

  • How to decide when to remove oneself from a research project due to ethical concerns
  • How to informally report on policy processes and retain policy relevance even while disengaging from a specific project

The background and policy setting:

Parkinson earned her Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Chicago in 2013. She researches

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Issue Areas: , Type of Engagement:

AI and Machine Learning in the U.S. Military Context

John R. Emery, Ph.D.

University of Oklahoma

The challenges:

  • Determining in which stages of development or deployment of technology to engage with machine learning, using a just war logic
  • Choosing to closely engage with a military project as a critical scholar, given that the use of the project may result in the loss of human life

The background and policy setting:

John R.

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Issue Areas: Type of Engagement:

Requests for Revisions That Go Against One’s Findings

Elisabeth King

The Challenge:

Responding to requests for substantive revisions to consultancy work that go against one’s findings, analysis, or professional opinion

The Background and Policy Setting:

King is a political scientist committed to conducting policy-relevant research related to war, peace, development, and education. Over the past 15 years, alongside her university-based work, she has partnered with

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Issue Areas: Type of Engagement: ,

Engaging with Business to Encourage Responsible Behavior

Virginia Haufler

University of Maryland College Park

Reflections on Ethics and Policy Engagement
Sie Center, University of Denver

The challenges:

  • How to collaborate with business representatives in ways that generate fruitful conversations while maintaining your own integrity and reputation
  • How to recommend partnerships with business to solve global problems without damaging the partners' reputation and legitimacy or providing business with a shield against legitimate

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Issue Areas: , Type of Engagement:

Engaging With Policymakers

Jacqueline Best

University of Ottawa

The challenges:

  • Identifying and understanding the limits and failures of policy expertise, as well as the role and nature of policy ignorance when engaging with policymakers, while acknowledging that policymakers who work in the field of economics are often under a great deal of pressure to get things right
  • Approaching issues as a political economist and

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Issue Areas: , Type of Engagement:

Engaging with identity politics during times of heightened polarization

Nadia Brown

The challenges:

  • How to show the value of diversity and intersectionality for policymaking in an era of heightened polarization.
  • How to effectively contribute to the policy arena as a black feminist when your expertise is in question from the gate given who you are.
  • How to push against situations where your identity brings diversity,

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Issue Areas: , , Type of Engagement:

Ethics of Engagement and Sources of Funding

Tanisha M. Fazal

The challenges:

  • How to fund policy relevant research without compromising ethics.
  • The complexities of managing government funding.
  • The dilemmas of private foundation funding.
  • The positionality of funding dilemmas.

The background and policy setting:

All scholars need funding for research. Sometimes we need to pay for field research, sometimes for surveys. Sometimes – indeed, often – what we most

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Issue Areas: Type of Engagement:

Matrix: writing for policy audiences, economic/tech space

Shareen Hertel

The challenge:

  • Providing policy advice on corporate engagement to one’s university from a human rights perspective, while being far removed from corporate decision-making.
  • Providing advice to the university as a professor but in a context that operates according to different norms from her teaching and research responsibilities.

The background and policy setting:

Hertel became an academic

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Issue Areas: , Type of Engagement:

Engaging to Reform U.S. Democracy Promotion

Catherine Herrold

Associate Professor of Public Administration and International Development

Syracuse University Maxwell School of Citizenship & Public Affairs

Background and Policy Setting

Catherine Herrold studies how local civic actors—including nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), grassroots groups, and philanthropic foundations—promote economic development and democratic political reform. Her first book project examined how leaders of Egyptian NGOs and foundations understood the concept of “democracy” and promoted it in the wake of the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings. In

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Issue Areas: Type of Engagement:

Engaging on the Creation of Cybersecurity Norms

Martha Finnemore

The challenge: How to advise on complex phenomena (creating cybersecurity norms) when the narrative surrounding them is oversimplified.

  • In particular, it is difficult to explain to policymakers the intersubjectivity of norms and their sociological basis in a way that is immediately policy relevant.
  • The “problem” in question often involves many dimensions not related to

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Issue Areas: , Type of Engagement: ,

Engaging to Encourage a Global NATO

James Goldgeier

The challenges:
  • How to present novel, controversial ideas without damaging one’s credibility in the policy circles in which one travels
  • How to present views that may be considered extreme, with the goal of reframing the policy space on a particular issue
The background and policy setting:

James Goldgeier has worked for many years

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Issue Areas: Type of Engagement:

Sie Center Ethics of Engagement