Let’s learn about Field work for research

Let’s learn about Field work for research

Fieldwork is the direct method of study in which a researcher goes into the field to interact with the people to whom he/ she wants to study. He/ she lives continuously for a long time in that area with those people and study for their research work. The article “Let’s learn about Fieldwork for research” will discuss the various methods used during fieldwork.  

Techniques used in field work


This is one of the important methods of research. In this method, the researcher simply observed the society for their work.

Observation (photo- Marketing91)

It has four kinds-

  • Uncontrolled observation:
    • Made in the natural environment
    • Not influenced by outside controls or external forces
    • No instruments are required
    • Not standardized
  • Controlled observation:
    • Observation according to plan
    • Greater precision than uncontrolled observation
    • Less biasness
    • Control over the observation and the phenomena
  • Non-participant observation:
    • Also known as Quasi-participant observation
    • Observation from a distance
  • Participant observation:
    • Participation in the socio-cultural life of the people understudy


It is a device for the collection of data that is required to test the hypothesis in social research. It ensures systematic communication between a field worker and the people.

It is of two types-

  • Structured interview:
    • Preplanned
    • Controlled, guided or direct interview
    • Does not add anything later
  • Unstructured interview:
    • Not planned
    • Uncontrolled, unguided or undirected interview
    • Free discussion

Case study

It is a qualitative analysis. The case study involves intensive investigation of a particular unit. A case is a unit of study. It may be individual, group, classes or any other organisation. It aims at a deep and detailed study of the unit. The case study covers a sufficiently wide cycle of time. It collects broad data.

Casework includes procedures related to the development and adjustment that follows the diagnosis.


Family tree (Photo- scgensoc.org)

It is a well-established procedure to collect kin relationships. It studies kinship and social organization. It discusses demographic and settlement patterns.

Also, learn about the work of anthropologists which comes under Applied Anthropology.

Some other important terms used in field work


 It is of two types-
  • Structured questionnaire
    • Definite, concrete and preordinated questions
    • Limited
    • Alternatives are given
    • Response is structured
    • Can be mailed also
  • Non-structured questionnaire
    • Often known as an interview guide
    • Used for focused, depth and non-directive interviews
    • Not limited
    • Both response and stimulus are set free


It contains some questions or blank tables which are to be filled by the researcher after getting information from the informant. The schedule is used as a memory tickler.

Participant observation and the Genealogical method are the distinctive features of anthropological field work.

Data collection:

It is of two types-

  1. Primary data – collected by the researchers themselves.
  2. Secondary data– collected from the library, books etc.

There are two techniques of data collection:

The Intensive fieldwork method (also known as a longitudinal or diachronic study) includes observation, interview, case study and genealogy.

The Survey method (also known as a cross-sectional or synchronic study) includes questionnaires and schedules.

Armchair anthropologists:

Armchair anthropologist (photo- Scientific American)

They create theories without any fieldwork. They relied on travellers for their work.

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