Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Timothy Austin, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Rosemary Gido, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Shannon Phaneuf, Ph.D.

Fourth Advisor

Jennifer Roberts, Ph.D.


This dissertation outlines the need for greater understanding of the issue of risk to the researcher and methods employed for managing safety while conducting fieldwork. Researchers are sometimes put in dangerous situations while conducting research. The concept of risk to the researcher refers to the possible harm that may occur while in the field or after leaving the research project. This includes physical/health, emotional, legal, and personal/professional risks. The dissertation explores the topic of risk to the researcher, focusing on those engaged in research in the areas of social deviance or criminal behavior. An online survey was used to collect data on issues experienced with research, as well as precautionary steps taken to ensure safety and manage risk while in the field. The population surveyed consisted of social scientist including criminologists and sociologists. Findings include risks experienced by researchers of social deviance and criminal behavior. Results also present safety precautions identified to reduce or eliminate such risk.