Advancing safe ‘out-of-office’ research: Experiences of students and early career researchers from Wageningen University & Research with harassment, the impact, and available support

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Studies show that minority students and researchers experience more unsafety and harassment in fieldwork research (Demery and Pipkin, 2021; Roketenetz and Holliday, 2022; McDermott, 2022; Nash et al., 2019; Langbeen & Bakx, n.d.). Reports of Wageningen University & Research [WUR] show that their students and researchers experience discrimination and harassment (Meesters et al., 2021; Meesters et al., 2022). In turn, the well-being and (study) career is impacted (Langbeen & Bakx, n.d.). This explorative study captures experiences with harassment in environments located outside of the permanent study or workplace (‘out-of-office’). This contributes to safer ‘out-of-office’ research and research about harassment. Experiences with harassment, the impact, and support options are investigated among a diverse sample of students and early career researchers of WUR, by using a survey and semi-structured interviews. Results show that respondents who feel marginalised by gender experience sexual and gender harassment in fieldwork locations significantly more often than others. The impact of experiences with harassment is characterised by a decrease in study or job satisfaction and commitment, productivity, participation in social activities, mental and physical health, and access to data collection. Eventually, 56.5% did not seek support. These findings underline that being marginalised by gender includes being more at risk in fieldwork locations and show the importance for researchers to be aware of and prepare for these situations. Keywords: social safety, harassment, discrimination, racism, coping, fieldwork.
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