Guidelines for Undergraduate Off-Campus Research over the Winter Break

The following guidelines pertain to undergraduates who wish to conduct research off-campus during the 2020-21 winter break:

During the COVID-19 pandemic, research that is conducted off-campus must comply with the policies and procedures set out by the Off-Campus and Fieldwork Committee, established as part of Yale’s overall research reactivation plan. The committee has developed special processes for undergraduates who hope to do research off-campus during the 2020-21 winter break. The committee recommends that undergraduate off-campus research plans over the winter break:

  • involve minimal travel beyond that already planned to return home or to another location where the student plans to spend the break
  • involve minimal in-person interaction with human subjects
  • be linked to a long-term research project, such as a senior essay, for which this research is essential
  • be developed in consultation with a faculty adviser
  • comply with all Yale, local, national, international, and other public health policies, as appropriate to the research
  • If your undergraduate research project involves a single researcher working in archives, collections, or museums, and if that research involves only day trips from your home base during the break, this research is likely possible without special application to the Off-Campus Research and Fieldwork Committee. Take this self-assessment to determine whether you are exempt from further review. If you are exempt, you must still discuss your research plan with your faculty adviser and share a copy of it with your DUS.  If you are not exempt, work with your faculty adviser or DUS to submit an application to the Humanities and Social Sciences subcommittee of the Off-Campus Research and Fieldwork Committee.
  • If your project is based in the social sciences or humanities and involves interviews, participant observation, or other interactions with human subjects, that research should be conducted via Zoom or other remote technology. (Note that the usual Institutional Review Board process for approval of research with human subject still applies.) If you believe your work should be granted an exception that will permit in-person human subjects research, work with your faculty adviser or DUS to submit an application to the Humanities and Social Sciences subcommittee of the Off-Campus Research and Fieldwork Committee. All in-person research involving human subjects must be reviewed, regardless of whether it involves travel beyond the student’s travel to “home base.”
  • If your project is based in the natural sciences, consult with your PI or other supervising faculty member to develop a safety plan. If your natural science off-campus research involves a single researcher working in open spaces where social distancing is easily accomplished, and if it involves only day trips from your home base during the break, this research is likely possible without special application to the Off-Campus Research and Fieldwork Committee.  Take this self-assessment to determine whether you are exempt from further review. If you aren’t exempt, work with your faculty adviser to submit an application to the Natural Sciences subcommittee of the Off-Campus Research and Fieldwork committee.

Undergraduate off-campus research during the 2020-21 winter break that complies with these policies and procedures is eligible for the use of Yale research funds, subject to any additional guidance from the unit dispersing those funds.