Field Research Guidelines

Field Research” for the purpose of these Guidelines refers to academic research, work, or studies conducted outside of a classroom or laboratory, in the natural environment.

Specifically, at UNC Charlotte, Field Research consists of activities that are authorized by UNC Charlotte and conducted by faculty, staff, students, or other authorized individuals for the purpose of research, teaching, or testing in locations that are physically secluded or remote from campus, where planning for risk in a natural environment is essential. 

The terms "field work," "field studies," and "field activities" are all considered "Field Research." For the purpose of this definition, the term "campus" refers to the UNC Charlotte main campus buildings, labs, and other controlled areas.

Normally, Field Research does not include travel for conferences, seminars, or visits to other institutions, organizations, and community partners.

In addition, “Field Research” should not be confused with the term “Field Trip.” (See Field Trip Planning and Compliance Procedure for information about Field Trips.)

Prior to engaging in Field Research, those engaging in Field Research should engage in the following steps:

All Field Researchers

1. Complete the Field Research Safety Plan (Appendix A), and consult the Field Research Hazards Appedices below to identify hazards:

2. Complete the ORPI Compliance Questionnaire 

  • Describe research project or activity
  • Answer questions about human subjects research, microorganisms, infectious materials, animals, conflicts of interest, international travel, etc.

3. Consider the number of people traveling off-site for Field Research

Additional Steps Related to Travel Destinations

1. International Travel

2. Domestic Travel

For off-campus University-sponsored student activities that are not course-related (non-field trip activities), activity leaders should ask students to sign an Off-Campus Activity Acknowledgement of Risk, Release, and Behavioral Agreement.

NOTE: A University-sponsored course-related, off-campus domestic activity led by a faculty member and designed to serve educational purposes is deemed a "Field Trip" and should follow the Field Trip Planning and Compliance Procedure.