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



Carlin B, Sikka T, Hopkins P, Braunholtz L, Mair L & Pattison Z (2023) Identifying the barriers to inclusion in field-based environmental sciences research. Studies in Higher Education.

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.

Inclusive fieldwork; structural barriers; safety; wellbeing; science

Studies in Higher Education

StatusIn Press
Publication date online31/10/2023
Date accepted by journal18/10/2023
PublisherInforma UK Limited

People (2)


Dr Laura Braunholtz

Dr Laura Braunholtz

UKRI Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Biological and Environmental Sciences

Dr Zarah Pattison

Dr Zarah Pattison

Senior Lecturer in Plant Sciences, Biological and Environmental Sciences