Safety While Doing Fieldwork

Your safety and that of your research participants should be a top priority while conducting fieldwork. This page lists some general guidelines and sources of support you should keep in mind while preparing to embark on field-based research and while in the field.

  • Your supervisor and your research committee are you main sources of advise at UBC in discussing your safety in the field, for they are the people who will be most familiar with your research questions and, in some cases, with the potential risks posed by the places where you intend to work. In the event of an emergency or a situation of potential risk in the field, you should contact your supervisor and committee members at once.
  • Prior to being conducted, all research involving human subjects must go through an ethics review by the UBC’s Behavioral Research Ethics Board (BREB). This review will assist you in identifying areas of potential risk during fieldwork for your participants and yourself, and may ask you to modify some of your protocols to minimize this risk.
  • The University of British Columbia has a clear set of guidelines regarding Student Safety Abroad when UBC students conduct university-related travel outside of Canada. UBC’s Safety Abroad Policy gives you some general guidelines of the factors to keep in mind when planning university-related travel outside of Canada, such as following travel advisories issued by the Government of Canada about specific parts of the world.
  • Student Safety Abroad Registry. All students travelling internationally for university activity are required to complete the Student Safety Abroad Registry. UBC uses the information collected in this registry to ensure that students prepare for a safer trip abroad, and so that UBC can effectively assist them in the event of an emergency. In the registry, you will be asked to enter your trip information and complete the Student Mobility Agreement. The agreement outlines the risks associated with international travel and the responsibilities of students travelling abroad.
  • Emergency contacts while in the field outside of Canada. In addition to contacting your family, local hosts, and local emergency response providers, you can seek assistance from International SOS: UBC’s emergency medical and security service provider, which can provide advice and support in all emergencies. They can inform UBC immediately of your situation.