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'Fluid fields' and the dynamics of risk in social research

Sampson, Helen ORCID: 2019. 'Fluid fields' and the dynamics of risk in social research. Qualitative Research 19 (2) , pp. 131-147. 10.1177/1468794117746085

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In recent decades social scientists have expanded their understanding of risk in the field to extend from concern with participants to awareness of how researchers themselves may be exposed to a variety of physical, emotional, ethical and professional ‘dangers’. A variety of accounts have exposed the kinds of risks concerned with fieldwork, many of which are difficult to anticipate. However, this paper takes a further step forward in considering the ways in which risks combine in the field, the coalescence of risk in particular circumstances, and the ways in which risk should be understood as dynamic and unpredictable. The paper concludes that these considerations require researchers to take a leading role in assessing the risks that they face, that risks should not be considered as uniform for all team members in conjunction with projects involving multiple researchers, and that researchers should receive greater training on appropriate risk management in an effort to change the prevailing research culture in many institutions.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Seafarers International Research Centre (SIRC)
Additional Information: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 License ( which permits non-commercial use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access pages (
Publisher: SAGE
ISSN: 1468-7941
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 20 November 2017
Date of Acceptance: 13 November 2017
Last Modified: 06 May 2023 08:23

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