Archaeological research underwater includes site inspections, underwater surveys, and studies conducted at the sites, including the handling and interpretation of data collected in the field.

Site inspections of underwater findings are conducted at new sites reported to the National Board of Antiquities by recreational divers, museums, and other individuals and communities interested in history. The purpose of underwater surveys is to map all underwater discoveries within a predetermined water area. Often, these surveys are carried out due to water construction projects, ensuring that any unexplored underwater archaeological sites are not destroyed during construction.

The Finnish Heritage Agency conducts site inspections as part of their official duties. Additionally, it grants research permits to diving clubs and museums, among others. The results of fieldwork are compiled in the Finnish Heritage Agency' archive, which is accessible to all interested parties. Fieldwork reports are also kept in the archaeological project registry.

Underwater archaeological fieldwork often focuses on the hull of a shipwreck and its artifacts. The site is systematically documented through measurements and photography. The work is carried out through diving and various survey methods. If the archaeological site is from historical times, its dating and origin can also be investigated through archival research. Archaeologists often collaborate with experts from other fields. For instance, environmental conditions around the site can be assessed in collaboration with biologists and geologists.

The archaeologist's goal is to map, interpret, and understand the entire discovery, not just picking individual artifacts. After fieldwork, a research report is prepared, and any retrieved artifacts are conserved. Objects raised from the water easily deteriorate without proper conservation.