FEATURE19 June 2023

Safety matters: Carrying out face-to-face research

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What should research companies consider when carrying out face-to-face research post-pandemic? By Julie Corney.

a photograph of two hands amidst a handshake

The resumption of in-home, face-to-face data collection post-pandemic has led to many queries to the MRS Codeline advisory service concerning personal safety.

There are several dimensions to the risk that researchers may face when involved in close social interaction:

  • Risk of physical threat or abuse
  • Risk of psychological trauma, as a result of actual or threatened violence or the nature of what is disclosed during the interaction
  • Risk of being in a compromising situation, in which there might be accusations of improper behaviour
  • Increased exposure to risks of everyday life and social interaction, such as road accidents and infectious illness
  • Risk of causing psychological or physical harm to others.

Budgeting for safety

All research proposals and funding agreements should include the costs of ensuring the safety of researchers working on the project. It may be helpful to distinguish infrastructure costs that are apportioned to all projects from costs particular to the project.

Infrastructure costs might cover training on risk assessment, communication aids, personal or vehicle insurance ...