I’m part of a fairly large Buddhist monastic organization in a country that is seeing an upsurge in access for foreigners to visit. We recently had a university student approach one of our monks with the intention of studying our organization. I’m curious
- Do you have experience with an organizational policy dealing with researchers/academics?
- Do you have experience from the academic side, especially as supervisors for students?
I checked out this student’s program and it’s an undergrad study abroad programme based in India. So it’s all legit from that side.
Is it odd that he would not have tried to contact our organization officially rather than just showing up at one of our monasteries? It’s very easy to find us on line.
I have some concerns about the privacy of the monastics that may be approached. I’m also concerned about misinformation about the org being published on-line. It appears that in this case since it is just an undergrad project it won’t be published anywhere, but I did uni before the WWW, so I don’t have any idea about what current practices are.
Any thoughts? Would any “legitimate” academic have contacted us officially first? I don’t have all the details, but this didn’t seem to be just someone wanting to talk to a monk, but rather study our organization specifically. And would a legit researcher always identify themselves as such first?
Do you think our organization should have a a policy that monks should refer all researchers to the central office before talking to anyone? Is there a such thing as “talking on background” to academics like there would be for press? Can one agree to talk but request anonymity?
Is there an agreed upon set of ethical guidelines that researchers are bound to follow when in a foreign country?