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Field Guide for Research in Community Settings

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

This insightful book offers practical advice to fieldworkers in social research, enabling robust and judicious applications of research methods and techniques in data collection. It also outlines data collection challenges that are commonly faced when working in the field.
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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.

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Anne Köchling

Destination marketing organisations (DMOs) seek to provide positive pre-travel online destination experiences (ODEs) to attract tourists. Thereby, DMOs understand official destination websites (ODWs) as central sources of information influencing tourists’ travel decisions. Although experiential marketing theory postulates that customers are reached through sensory, affective, intellectual, behavioural or social experiences, this theory has rarely been applied to analysing tourist experiences on ODWs. Past research and theories remain similar to models from product brands, yet fail to acknowledge the peculiarities of destination experiences. This research explores how users of ODWs experience unfamiliar tourist destinations in the pre-travel phase. To gain a deeper understanding of the nature of ODEs on ODWs, a qualitative multi-method study was conducted involving eye-tracking, retrospective think-aloud protocols, semi-structured interviews and video observations with 15 German millen­nials selected via purposeful sampling. Data was analysed in a qualitative directed content analysis following an abductive approach. Findings expand on previous theory by adding a spatio-temporal experience dimension. In the pre-travel phase, potential tourists explore the spatio-temporal accessibility of expected experiences and the experience density in the destin­ation. Furthermore, this research provides new insights into the different dimensions of ODEs and proposes an advanced conceptual framework.

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Konstantinos Andriotis

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Animesh Tripathi, Stuart Hayes and Hazel Tucker

With an increase in tourists originating from Asia, the geographies of tourism have changed considerably in recent decades. Arguably, however, tourism scholarship remains largely Western-centric. In this research note, we focus on one particular area of tourism scholarship where Western-centrism may be especially problematic: tourist culture. As part of this, we draw on a case study of ‘lifestyle travel’ to illustrate the need for more inclusive, diverse and non-Western-centric (auto)ethnographic/(auto)biographical studies in tourist culture scholarship. In so doing, we argue that such studies may be especially useful for capturing the stories of ‘Others’, thus helping to broaden our knowledge base in light of tourism’s shifting geographies.

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Aylin Akyıldız, Marie Duchene and Claudia Ba

This research note addresses the difficulties in acquiring interview partners within the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft-funded project ‘Neighbourhood in the tourist trap? An examination on the changing residential quality through tourist accommodation in selected Berlin residential neighbourhoods’. The research project is analysing to what extent the quality of residential areas has changed as a result of tourist accommodation through a mixed-method approach. In order to ensure a differentiated database, one aim of the project was to interview residents with different durations of residency and educational levels, and to take into account the high density of people with a migration background in Berlin. Since Berliners of Turkish origin represent the largest group of people with a migration background in Berlin, it was in the interest of the research to make this group’s views visible and voices heard. In the research note we focus on the acquisition of Turkish Berliners and reflect on the question of why establishing contacts with Turkish Berliners was especially challenging. In order to answer this question, some hypotheses on non-response conduct will be sketched from which we draw our conclusions of an alteration of acquisition within the field of New Urban Tourism in Berlin.

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Émilie Crossley

Temporality is increasingly being recognised as an important dimension of tourist experience. Qualitative longitudinal research (QLR) is a methodology for investigating temporality and change that is rarely used in tourism studies. The approach moves away from reliance on data collected at one point in time and retrospective narratives. Instead, data are generated at multiple points in time, thus capturing experience in the present moment. I situate QLR alongside lifecourse and biographical research in order to show how it can extend existing qualitative enquiry into tourists’ subjective temporal experiences and biographical narratives. ‘Intensive’ and ‘extensive’ QLR designs are delineated and connected to potential applications in qualitative tourism research. Additionally, conceptual clarification is provided regarding use of the terms ‘longitudinal’ and ‘temporal’, which have frequently been a source of confusion. I conclude that QLR has significant potential to advance our understanding of tourist experience, motivation and transformation.