UWA Handbook 2017

Unit details

SOCS5911 Fieldwork in Complex and Hostile Places Part 1

Credit 6 points
  Offering
(see Timetable)
AvailabilityLocationMode
Non-standard teaching periodUWA (Perth)Multimode
Content Fieldwork can be demanding and poses unique research challenges as well as risks to the security and safety of the researcher and research participants. Fieldwork also relies on the researcher's ability to clearly understand their research design and methods in order to effectively and ethically access, collect and manage data in the field.

This subject is taught intensively over an eight-day period. It is delivered in two parts, comprised of four days of classroom-based lectures and four days in a scenario/simulation learning environment. It covers applied research philosophy, methodologies, field skills and techniques to prepare students for undertaking detailed fieldwork research with vulnerable research participants and/or for extended periods in less secure, complex and/or hostile environments.

The content is taught by a combination of academics and professional security consultants. The academic component, which addresses applied research methods, principles of research risk management and university risk management is taught by Dr Scott Flower. The practical field training is delivered by Red R, who are recognised as an accredited training provider by the United Nations, Australian Government agencies such as the Department of Foreign and Trade Affairs, and numerous humanitarian NGOs, including World Vision and Oxfam. Red R trainers are highly experienced humanitarian workers and ex-military personnel.
Outcomes Students are able to (1) have an advanced understanding of complex and hostile environments and be able to manage risks whilst undertaking effective research; (2) have the capability to efficiently and effectively draft a Research Plan, Ethics Application and Risk Management Plan (with supporting documentation); (3) understand the University's Risk Management, OHS, Security and Travel Guidelines; (4) understand the range of ethical issues confronting researchers, participants and universities when undertaking fieldwork research; (5) select specific research methods and analytical tools that are appropriate (intellectually, psychologically and practically) for addressing their research question and collected data in a complex and hostile place among vulnerable research populations; (6) be confident completing practical scenarios that demonstrate their awareness of the key personal security challenges confronting researchers in the field and how to respond appropriately to mitigate or manage such risks; (7) have the ability to make plans and decisions regarding fieldwork (prior to, during and post-deployment) as part of an overarching research strategy; (8) be awarded a 'Stay Safe' personal security qualification from the International Red Cross; and (9) achieve a personal security and communications certificate by Red R, which is recognised by the United Nations and Australian Government.
Assessment Typically this unit is assessed in the following way: continuing assessment. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Supplementary assessment is not available in this unit.
Unit Coordinator(s) Dr Scott Flower
Unit rules
Prerequisites: Completion of 24 points of postgraduate study. Students must submit a Researcher Profile Self-assessment prior to enrolment as part of an expression of interest in undertaking SOCS5911 Fieldwork in Complex and Hostile Place Part 1 and SOCS5912 Fieldwork in Complex and Hostile Places Part 2.

Eligible students must also complete the International Red Cross/Red Crescent 'Stay Safe - Personal Security' online module and present their certificate to the unit coordinator prior to commencement date. To register and access the online training go to: https://ifrc.csod.com/selfreg/register.aspx?c=sr-en.
Co-requisites: SOCS5912 Fieldwork in Complex and Hostile Places Part 2
Advisable prior study: Students enrolling in this subject ideally should have undertaken coursework in Research Methods at undergraduate or Honours level or have gained introductory level knowledge of research methodologies through career experience.
Approved quota: 30—selection Criteria: This subject requires submission of a Researcher Self-assessment form to the subject contact 10 days before the Pre-teaching Period Start date. Places in the subject will be allocated in order of satisfactory submissions received, with preference given to students in Master of International Relations or Master of International Development Studies, and to students who have impending travel overseas that need specific training to operate in complex or less secure environments.
Confirmation of enrolment will be notified to students, and unsuccessful applicants will be removed from the subject and advised via email.
Contact hours Total of 96 contact hours: 3 day intensive of lectures at Crawley campus, 4 day practical and lecture intensive at Shenton Park Field Station and final day of lectures and group work at Crawley campus.
Unit OutlineTS-B-2B : http://www.unitoutlines.arts.uwa.edu.au/Units/SOCS5911/TS-B-2B/2017
TS-J-2 : http://www.unitoutlines.arts.uwa.edu.au/Units/SOCS5911/TS-J-2/2017
Texts

Surviving Field Research (Routledge 2009)

Designing and conducting mixed methods research (Sage 2011, 2nd edition)

Operational Security Management in Violent Environments (December 10 2010) Humanitarian Practice Network


  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Books and other material wherever listed may be subject to change. Book lists relating to 'Preliminary reading', 'Recommended reading' and 'Textbooks' are, in most cases, available at the University Co-operative Bookshop (from early January) and appropriate administrative offices for students to consult. Where texts are listed in the unit description above, an asterisk (*) indicates that the book is available in paperback.