WG Ethics & Safety in Field Research

Why we need to discuss Ethics & Safety in Field Research

This working group aims at bringing questions of ethics and safety in field research to the forefront. It was created as a result of a workshop organized by two Leibniz Institutes and funded by the Leibniz PhD Network in 2020. During the workshop, we realized that almost all researchers at Leibniz Institutes, PhD candidates and Postdocs alike, need to reflect on ethical and security questions in doing field research more consistently and thoroughly. There is a staggering lack of occasions, platforms, or safe formats to do so as a group. This is particularly problematic for junior researchers who face heightened barriers to discussing such matters due to hierarchies and dependencies in their working environments. In our work, we aim to critically assess our role as researchers in conducting field research in different research contexts. These discussions include issues of power, safety, and positionality in the field. We would like to provide platforms for such discussions and critical self-reflection.

Our goals and objectives

  • Provide regular platforms for peer-to-peer exchange in a safe space for junior researchers
  • Foster exchange and collaboration between PhD researchers and PostDocs
  • Expand the curriculum on emerging issues in doing field research via advanced training i.e. through external experts
  • Raise awareness and promote questions relating to the topic of research ethics and safety within the Leibniz Institutes and beyond
  • Gather and collect resources and guides for junior researchers

Interested in our work?

We currently plan to organize three to four events per year in various formats. You can find details on our previous Workshops (December 2020, July 2021) as well as a blog post about our first workshop. Anyone interested in our work is very welcome to join our events. We are open to all kinds of initiatives related to the topic. Information about future events will be disseminated via the Leibniz PhD Network channels and email lists.

If you have any questions about the WG, would like to be added to the mailing list or wish to take part in the organizing team, feel free to get in touch with the two coordinators Katja Girr and Swantje Schirmer via this email workinggroup@leibniz-phd.net.