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20 - Conducting Fieldwork

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  19 September 2019

Joanna M. Setchell
Affiliation:
Durham University
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Summary

Fieldwork can be exciting, and even addictive, but it can also be daunting and dangerous. Fieldsites range from a tent to established research stations. You may be close to home, or on the other side of the world. National researchers may be just as foreign to a local area as non-national researchers. You may be in a familiar environment or in a very unfamiliar one. Fieldwork often involves sharing living space with other people, and with wildlife. In this chapter I begin with what it takes to be a fieldworker, then cover permissions and logistics, field kit, personal safety, the social context, LGBTQIA+ concerns, natural hazards, physical health, mental health, and returning home.

Type
Chapter
Information
Studying Primates
How to Design, Conduct and Report Primatological Research
, pp. 247 - 262
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2019

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References

Clancy, KBH, Nelson, RG, Rutherford, JN, Hinde, K. 2014. Survey of academic field experiences (SAFE): Trainees report harassment and assault. PLOS ONE 9: e102172. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0102172. Reports on a survey of experiences of sexual harassment and sexual assault in fieldworkers showing that the primary targets are women trainees, and that perpetrators are predominantly senior to them professionally. Suggests policies to improve the situation.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Ice, GH, Dufour, DL, Stevens, NJ. 2014. Disasters in Field Research: Preparing for and Coping with Unexpected Events. Lanham, MD: AltaMira Press. Provides a wealth of practical suggestions to avoid, or at least minimise, the impact of the unexpected, with real-life examples from researchers in a variety of disciplines.Google Scholar
Jolly, A. 2016. Thank You, Madagascar: The Conservation Diaries of Alison Jolly. London: Zed Books. A beautifully written account of the late Alison Jolly’s experiences in Madagascar.Google Scholar
Morgan, BJ. 2012. Notes from the field: A primatologist’s point of view. Nature Education Knowledge 3: 8. Describes daily life as a field primatologist in Central Africa.Google Scholar
Smith, DS. 2012. Travel medicine and vaccines for HIV-infected travellers. Topics in Antiviral Medicine 20: 111115. A summary of considerations for vaccination in immunocompromised people.Google Scholar
Sohn, E. 2019. Ways to juggle fieldwork with kids in tow. Nature 570: 405407. https://doi:10.1038/d41586-019-01909-w. Advice on conducting fieldwork with children.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Werner, D, Thuman, C, Maxwell, J. 2015. Where There Is No Doctor: A Village Health Care Handbook, Revised Edition. Berkeley, CA: Hesperian Health Guides. A classic healthcare handbook on how to prevent, recognise and treat many common sicknesses. Search online for free pdf versions in multiple languages.Google Scholar

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