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Identifying the barriers to inclusion in field-based environmental sciences research

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Briony CarlinORCiD, Dr Tina SikkaORCiD, Professor Peter Hopkins, Dr Laura Braunholtz, Dr Louise MairORCiD, Dr Zarah PattisonORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


Fieldwork is an important component of data collection in environmental sciences and other related disciplines. Sensitive to the ways in which field based environmental sciences (FBES) research is often unsafe and lacks inclusivity, we explore findings from a mixed methods study that identified barriers to inclusion and overlooked risks to safety for FBES researchers. We found that gender and gender identity presented a direct risk for discrimination, harassment, and violence in the field (63.8% of cis females and 100% of nonbinary/genderqueer respondents). Sexuality, race, and ethnicity also posed a risk to FBES researchers with 88.3% of respondents stating that marginalised groups are underrepresented in FBES. Over half of our respondents stated class and socio-economic background to be a barrier to their participation in FBES research due to job precarity and lack of funding. These risks and barriers experienced by researchers can lead to a lack of novelty in environmental science. As such, we argue that we need to increase diversity whilst reducing risks in FBES and cultivate a more prosperous, safe, and empowered research culture.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Carlin B, Sikka T, Hopkins P, Braunholtz L, Mair L, Pattison Z

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Studies in Higher Education

Year: 2023

Pages: epub ahead of print

Online publication date: 30/10/2023

Acceptance date: 18/10/2023

Date deposited: 18/10/2023

ISSN (print): 0307-5079

ISSN (electronic): 1470-174X

Publisher: Routledge


DOI: 10.1080/03075079.2023.2274378


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