Discipline of Occupational and Environmental Health
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Preparing the groundwork for the fieldwork

While you are awaiting your ethical approval, makes profitable use of the few months. Given that you will already have had gatekeeper approval, start working with organisations representing the participants (unions, community based organisations, non-governmental organisations, etc). You need to inform them of the project, how it is going to benefit their constituency or their organisation directly. From this engagement, you will learn better the do’s and don’ts when you start to select your sample. You could also organise community or workplace meetings to explain your research plan to the groups from which your sample will be drawn. Address any concerns they may have, and get them to understand the benefits of your research for them directly, for those exposed generally. Be frank and honest. Indicate to them the risks of participating.

This also presents an opportunity to develop the research logistics. If this is at a workplace, how will it affect the production process; if it is at a school, how will it affect teaching and learning; if it is at a hospital, how will it affect patient care? How much of time of those participating will be necessary either away from the factory floor or from their ability to care for patients etc. This plan must be finalised with management and trade unions prior to the commencement of the study.

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