Getting the basics right: a field-teaching primer on toilet stops in the field

Sam Giles, Sarah Greene, Kate Ashley, Emma Dunne, Kirsty Edgar, Emma Hanson

Research output: Other contribution


Geological patterns exposed on the surface of the earth are fundamental to understanding the processes that formed and shape our world; fieldwork, therefore, underpins the geosciences and geoscience education in particular. For many students, fieldtrips are a major attraction to the geosciences. Nevertheless, for many others, fieldwork presents a barrier to studying or enjoying geoscience at university, potentially contributing to the dual diversity and recruitment crises being felt throughout the discipline. A pressing but often overlooked barrier is the issue of toilet stops and menstruation in the field. Informal surveys indicate that toileting information is rarely given to undergraduates in advance of or during fieldwork. Failure to provide adequate information causes unnecessary anxiety and stress and may lead to students managing or restricting fluid intake, with potential downstream health impacts such as urinary tract infections or dehydration. Here we present a short educational primer with recommended best practices for field-based teaching. The primer covers topics such as peeing, menstruation, and provision of sanitary supplies, as well as suggestions for inclusive itinerary development. Future work will develop this primer further by incuding critical perspectives on other issues that may increase the need for frequent toilet stops. This primer is released under a CC-BY-4.0 license to facilitate sharing amongst staff and students. It is hoped that this will go some way to minimizing stress and anxiety for all parties, ultimately contributing to more inclusive field teaching.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 23 Mar 2020


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