Researcher safety is a crucial aspect of our methodologies, practices and research ethics, but is often sidelined or overlooked. The following resources have been collated to help you identify your own safety needs and create or enhance existing safety protocols, supervision and teaching programmes.
WHERE TO START?
Safety is addressed in more depth in Chapter 6 of The Research Companion: a practical guide for the social sciences, health and development (Routledge, 2016). You can also book me for training events on researcher safety and wellbeing, or to help you create, assess or improve existing researcher safety protocols and training programmes in your organisation please contact me for more information.
You can also find out about Health and Safety/Workplace Safety via:
- Occupational Health
- Health and Safety officers/departments
- Human Resources
- Campus Security
- Teaching and student unions
- Diversity, Equality and Inclusion departments/officers
- Ethics Committees/RECs/IRBs
- Local, state and/or national government
- Local, national or global healthcare organisations, committees and agencies
- Professional bodies/organisations
- Training agencies and consultants
As you consult and select researcher safety resources and create/adapt your own training, policies and practices continually ask ‘who does this bring in? who does it leave out? who does it help? who might it harm?’ You will note that many safety policies carry their own limitations, prejudices and values which in turn may affect their suitability for use.
Remember the goal of creating any safety policy, protocol, toolkit or framework is not to push people into unsafe places; shame or stigmatise researchers or participants; or excuse unethical or oppressive practices.
SAFETY ORGANISATIONS OFFERING ADVICE AND TRAINING
ACAS has guidance on a variety of safety and wellbeing topics
The British Medical Association’s advice for clinicians
PROTOCOLS, TOOLS AND GUIDES FOR SAFER ACADEMIC RESEARCH
These provide information on assessing areas of risk and adaptable templates for using on your own projects.
LONE AND FIELD WORKER SAFETY
DEVELOPMENT, HUMANITARIAN, HEALTHCARE AND AID WORKER SAFETY
STAYING SAFER ON SOCIAL MEDIA
COVID-19 SAFETY INFORMATION
OTHER HEALTH AND SAFETY ORGANISATIONS
FURTHER READING ABOUT RESEARCHER SAFETY AND WELLBEING
Boynton, P. (2020) Being Well in Academia Ways to Feel Stronger, Safer and More Connected. 1st edn. Routledge.
Boynton, P. (2016) The Research Companion: a practical guide for the social sciences, health and development. 2nd edn. Routledge.
Chiswell, H. M. and Wheeler, R. (2016) ‘“As long as you’re easy on the eye”: reflecting on issues of positionality and researcher safety during farmer interviews’, Area. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, 48(2), pp. 229–235.
Cornejo, M., Rubilar, G. and Zapata-Sepúlveda, P. (2019) ‘Researching Sensitive Topics in Sensitive Zones: Exploring Silences, “The Normal,” and Tolerance in Chile’, International Journal of Qualitative Methods. SAGE Publications Inc, 18.
D R Kuespert (2016) Research Laboratory Safety. de Gruyter.
DeGroot, J. M. and Carmack, H. J. (2020) ‘Unexpected Negative Participant Responses and Researcher Safety: “Fuck Your Survey and Your Safe Space, Trigger Warning Bullshit”’, Journal of Communication Inquiry. SAGE Publications Inc.
Fenge, L. A. et al. (2019) ‘The Impact of Sensitive Research on the Researcher: Preparedness and Positionality’, International Journal of Qualitative Methods. SAGE Publications Inc, 18.
G W Wood (1999) ‘Review of a protocol for researcher safety.’, Psychology of Women Section Review., 2(1), p. 64.
Kendra, M. A. and George, V. D. (2001) ‘Defining Risk in Home Visiting’, Public Health Nursing. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, 18(2), pp. 128–137.
Macdonald, C. (2020) The Dark Side of Being A Female Shark Researcher. Scientific American.
Morgan, J. and Pink, S. (2017) ‘Researcher Safety? Ethnography in the Interdisciplinary World of Audit Cultures’, Cultural Studies. Critical Methodologies. SAGE Publications, 18 (6), pp. 400–409.
Parker, N. and O’Reilly, M. (2013) ‘“We Are Alone in the House”: A Case Study Addressing Researcher Safety and Risk’, Qualitative Research in Psychology. Routledge, 10(4), pp. 341–354.
Pritchard, E. (2019) ‘Female researcher safety: the difficulties of recruiting participants at conventions for people with dwarfism’, International Journal of Social Research Methodology. Routledge, 22(5), pp. 503–515.
Stoaks, R.. (2019) ‘Hidden Dangers to Researcher Safety While Sampling Freshwater Benthic Macroinvertebrates’, The Great Lakes Entomologist, 52(2).
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. Routledge, 15(2), pp. 241–257.
Tolich, M. et al. (2020) ‘Researcher Emotional Safety as Ethics in Practice’, in Iphofen, R. (ed.) Handbook of Research Ethics and Scientific Integrity. Cham: Springer International Publishing, pp. 589–602.
Williams, T. et al. (1992) ‘Personal Safety in Dangerous Places’, Journal of contemporary ethnography, 21(3), pp. 343–374.