Code of safety for social researchers

We want you to be safe, particularly if you carry out fieldwork on your own.

We have developed this Code of practice for the Safety of social researchers (pdf).

The code focuses on staying safe when you interview or observe people in private settings.  It’s also relevant to working in unfamiliar situations in general.

Risks you should be aware of and plan to reduce where possible:

  • physical threats or abuse
  • psychological trauma, either from listening to subjects’ traumatic experiences or from actual or threatened violence
  • comprising situations, where you could be accused of inappropriate behaviour
  • causing psychological or physical harm to others
  • increased exposure to risks of everyday life and social interaction, such as road accidents and infectious illness.

We are not trying to be alarmist; rather the code is to help minimise any anxieties and risks which could affect the quality of your research.