Tools, Methods, Challenges and Strategies
Edited by M. R. Islam, Niaz A. Khan, Siti H.A.B. Ah, Haris A. Wahab and Mashitah B. Hamidi
M. Rezaul Islam, Niaz Ahmed Khan, Siti Hajar Abu Bakar Ah, Haris Abd Wahab and Mashitah Binti Hamidi
Fieldwork/data collection is one of the most important parts in the research process, and it is particularly important for social sciences research. A number of aspects that need to be considered by a researcher before starting data collection include: ethical permission from the concerned ethical body/committee, informed consent, contract with different stakeholders, field settings, time allocation and time management, field leading, data collection, contextual and cultural diversities, community settings, socioeconomic and psychological patterns of the community, political pattern, rapport building between data collectors and respondents, permission to access community, language and mode of data collection, power relations, role of gatekeepers, privacy and confidentiality issues, layers of expectations among researchers/respondents/ funding organization, data recording (written, memorization, voice recording and video recording), and so on. Many aspects are very difficult to understand before going into the field. Sometimes, a researcher’s previous experience about a particular community may help to gain field access, but it may be difficult to assess the field in advance due to rapid changes within people’s livelihoods and other shifts in the community. The change of a political paradigm sometimes seems also to be a challenge at the field level. We believe that although technological innovation has benefited some aspects of the data collection of fieldwork in social research, many other dimensions (mentioned above) of fieldwork endure unchanged.
Rhonda Phillips, Eric Trevan and Patsy Kraeger
Fundamentally, research is the process of discovery and exploration – the outcomes of which range widely from increasing understanding and finding potential solutions to gathering information that may contribute to additional inquiry. Community development as a means of improving the places we live in is a pressing issue more than ever, and further discovery and exploration of it are very much needed. It is our intent to present this volume to spur ideas and innovations in community development. At its most basic, community development is simply about making things better for the people who live there (Musikanski et al., 2019). At its most complex, it is decidedly difficult to identify the most effective or desirable approach as needs, desires, conditions, external and internal influences and confounding factors and resources can vary widely between communities. Community represents agency and solidarity (Bhattacharyya, 1995), and it is critical to understand that community is not only a destination and location but can also include a common set of ideas and values (Trevan, 2016), which inform both research and practice for the co-creation of knowledge. By focusing on research approaches, techniques and applications, we aim to illustrate both the broad complexity of community development and its potential. We hope this will help foster greater understanding of how research contributes to scholarship and to practice, where we see the results of ideas in action.