The polarimetric investigation of nebulosity associated with loss-mass pre-main sequence (PMS) stellar objects is detailed. Three regions of on-going star formation are considered, specifically, the Haro 6-5 and the HL/XZ Tau systems - both associated with dark clouds in the Taurus complex - and the PV Cephei nebulosity near NGC7023. In each region the imaging observations suggest bipolarity in the optical structure of the nebulosity, and the polarimetric data are used to determine the locations of the illuminating sources. Evidence is found for the association of circumstellar discs of obscuration with the PMS objects Haro 6-5A (FS Tau), Haro 6-5B, HL Tau, and PV Cephei. In each case the polarimetric data suggest that the local magnetic field has played an important role in the evolution of the star and the circumstellar material. Examination of the source-region polarization maps suggests that at least one of the objects considered is surrounded by a dust grain-aligning magnetic field with a predominantly toroidal geometry in the plane of the circumstellar disc. Implications for current theories of outflow acceleration and cloud evolution are discussed.