Publication Details

Roguski, M. & Tauri, J. M. (2013). Key issues effecting field researcher safety: A reflexive commentary. New Zealand Sociology, 28 (1), 18-35.


This article raises concerns about the, arguably, obscure position the issue of field researcher safety holds in our training curricula, supervision processes and across our research communities. A variety of discursive tensions are discussed as preventing a full realisation of researcher safety as a significant issue for social research practitioners. These tensions include the impact of privileging violence over the wide range of risks inherent in researching the social context, the ideological construction of the intrepid researcher as someone who bravely enters the field, often without an understanding of the environment or cognisant of potential risks; thus relying on a combination of courage and wit to develop an understanding of the issues under investigation. A third tension arises out of the elevated position afforded participant safety in the discourse on research safety. A hierarchy of issues has constructed researcher safety as a lesser concern to that of participants and (importantly) institutions. Next, decreases in researcher safety are discussed in relation to efforts to gain participant rapport and the impact of marginalised status on our safety as researchers. Finally, various organisations and workplaces' risk adverse approaches to safety are presented as superficial institutional tasks that provide minimal safety to the individual while providing the organisation with maximum protection.