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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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Edited by Michael Keane