Fieldwork Safety and Training
Many students will be required to undertake fieldwork as part of their course. It can take place either overseas or within the UK. There are a number of procedures that you must follow when preparing for and carrying out fieldwork.
Good preparation can pre-empt many potential problems. When discussing your research with your supervisor please think about the safety implications of where you are going and what you are doing. Following this discussion and before your travel can be approved, you will be required to complete an online travel risk assessment form, which can be found at https://www.law.ox.ac.uk/content/fieldwork. This requires you to set out the significant safety risks associated with your research, the arrangements in place to mitigate those risks, and the contingency plans if something goes wrong. The Faculty also needs accurate information on where you will be and how to contact you while you are away. The travel risk assessment process should help you to plan your fieldwork by thinking through arrangements and practicalities. There is an expectation that you will take out University travel insurance. The following website contains some fieldwork experiences which might be useful to refer to https://www.socsci.ox.ac.uk/fieldworkers-experiences.
Training is highly recommended as part of your preparation for fieldwork. Even if you are familiar with where you are going there may be risks associated with what you are doing. The Social Science Division offers courses on how to prepare for safe and effective fieldwork for those carrying out medium to high-risk research in rural and urban contexts. For details and to reserve a place please visit http://www.admin.ox.ac.uk/safety/safetytraining/trainsubj/fieldwork/.
Centre for Socio-Legal Studies
A short fieldwork safety awareness session covering basic personal safety and planning tips is incorporated into the ‘Experiences of Doing Graduate Research’ seminar, part of the ‘Theory and Methods in Socio-Legal Research Course’, to be held in Hilary Term. Students who have already completed fieldwork will also be able to share their experiences. All students planning to carry out fieldwork are expected to attend this session.
To travel abroad you need to obtain insurance. To apply for University insurance, go to http://www.admin.ox.ac.uk/finance/insurance/travel/.
- University Policies (safety): http://www.admin.ox.ac.uk/safety/policy-statements/
- Overseas Travel Policy: http://www.admin.ox.ac.uk/safety/policy-statements/s3-07/
- Fieldwork: Social Sciences Division info: https://www.socsci.ox.ac.uk/services/research-and-impact/fieldwork/fieldwork
- Travel health: http://www.admin.ox.ac.uk/uohs/travelhealth/
- FCO country information: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice