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All fieldwork should be planned and conducted in a way that is ethical, responsible and safe, for students, staff, visited communities and all other stakeholders. Programmes are expected to follow good practice in terms of health and safety and ethical reviews as codified in University Safety and Health Association (USHA) guidance (below). Codes of conduct should be in place for all those who undertake taught fieldwork - staff and students - that make explicit responsibilities.

The following list of online resources is dynamic. If you know of other relevant resources you think we should be sharing, we’d be happy to hear from you at rhed@rgs.org. The Society does not accept responsibility for the content of the external sites. Inclusion on this list does not equate to an endorsement of any content or organisation. Please contact the external site for questions regarding individual resources.

 

Health and Safety

Higher education sector guidance on Health and Safety in fieldwork and travel

Universities Safety and Health Association (UK)

Including all offsite visits and travel in the UK and overseas

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An inclusive risk assessment tool for travel and fieldwork

EGU General Assembly

Risk assessment forms and suggested approaches to considering hazards and appropriate mitigations that particularly affect protected characteristics.

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USHA guidance - full list

Universities Safety and Health Association (UK)

A list of all available USHA guidance documents.

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British Standard for adventurous activities outside the United Kingdom (BS 8848:2014)

British Standards Institution (UK)

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Fieldwork safety checklist

Queen Mary, University of London (UK)

A sample departmental safety checklist.

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Foreign travel advice

Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (UK)

Current UK Government travel advice for 226 countries and territories.

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What is ‘safe’ in research fieldwork?

Wonkhe (UK)

Elizabeth Adams explores issues around traning and support for field researchers.

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Codes of conduct

Six fieldwork expectations

Sara Perry (UK)

Blog discussing and constructing a fieldwork code of conduct for undergraduate archaeologists.

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Fieldwork expectations agreement

Jennifer McKinnon, East Carolina University (USA)

Code of conduct from the program in Maritime Studies, East Carolina University.

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Fieldwork code of practice for staff and students

Northumbria University (UK)

Institutional example of a fieldwork code of conduct.

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Biosecurity

Better biosecurity: slowing the spread of Invasive Non-Native Species (INNS)

University of Leeds (UK)

Short course to promote understanding of what biosecurity risks are, why they are important and how they can be reduced. On completion, participants receive a certificate that may be included in fieldwork or other risk assessments.

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UCL biosecurity notes

University College London (UK)

Department of Geography notes on the spread of invasive and non-native species.

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Great Britain Invasive Non-Native Species Strategy

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affaris (UK)

Key aims and actions to deliver a co-ordinated approach for addressing the threats posed by non-native species

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Fieldwork ethics

Research ethics

Economic and Social Research Council (UK)

ESRC framework for research ethics.

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Fieldwork ethics forum

Luis A. Vivanco (USA)

From 'Field Notes: A Guided Journal for Doing Anthropology'

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Selected readings

  • Bashir, N. (2018) Doing research in peoples’ homes: fieldwork, ethics and safety – on the practical challenges of researching and representing life on the margins, Qualitative Research, 18(6):pp. 638-653. DOI:10.1177/1468794117731808

  • Butler, R. (2008) Teaching geoscience through fieldwork. GEES Learning and Teaching Guide. ISBN 1-84102-1458-8

  • Daniels, L.D. and Lavallee, S. (2014) Better Safe than Sorry: Planning for Safe and Successful Fieldwork. The Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America, 95: 264-273. Access the article.

  • Higgitt, D. and Bullard, J. (1999) Assessing Fieldwork Risk for Undergraduate Projects, Journal of Geography in Higher Education, 23:3, pp. 441-449. Access the article.

  • Kovats‐Bernat, J.C. (2002) Negotiating Dangerous Fields: Pragmatic Strategies for Fieldwork amid Violence and Terror. American Anthropologist, 104: 208-222. Access the article.

  • Nash, D.J. (2000) Doing Independent Overseas Fieldwork 1: Practicalities and pitfalls, Journal of Geography in Higher Education, 24:1, pp. 139-149. Access the article.

  • Sluka, J.A. (2020) Too dangerous for fieldwork? The challenge of institutional risk-management in primary research on conflict, violence and ‘Terrorism’, Contemporary Social Science, 15:2, pp. 241-257. Access the article.

 

 

Featured image: Priscilla Du Preez