This briefing note discusses the part played by risk and fear in the process of research into citizenship and violence in Brazil. Rio’s favelas are marked by extreme violence, partly through publicised acts of brutality, and partly by the numerous acts of violence which do not garner any public attention but which dramatically affect people’s lives. Risk and fear emerged as part of the research topic, because they arise from violence and affect experiences of citizenship. But they also act as a methodological constraint, affecting research quality and the potential for social action. More than this, they are also a characteristic of the researchers’ own daily experience, working and living in violent places and interacting with violent actors. This briefing note focuses on this last dimension.