Fieldwork: you go into the field, trained to do research, but you are essentially driving blind nonetheless. The day before I left for a few months of research in Jordan and Tunisia, I realized that while all my research methods courses have prepared me for the research side of fieldwork, there is so much more to living abroad and doing research than just research methods.
I realized (all too late) that I wish I had someone sit down with me to give me the nitty-gritty practical advice to what you need to get, and do when doing fieldwork abroad. Of course, friends and networks are an invaluable source of information -- you really can't beat the advice of others who have been in your shoes and gone before. My friends recommended credit cards without foreign conversion rates, tips for staying in touch while abroad, and advice on where to find a private tutor in Arabic as well as what apartments in Amman to live in!
But, wouldn't it be nice if all that information and advice was collected and distilled in one place? For that reason, I've decided to work on a small project with my fellow PhD student colleagues where we collect our tips to doing fieldwork into one short "Practical Guide".
So far topics include:
- Staying in touch
- Research Tools and data collection tips
- Packing tips and what not to forget!
- Tips on Living Abroad