field research

(noun) The first-hand observation and data collection of people’s behavior in their natural environment.

Example: Interviewing people at a public park or observing people’s behavior at a football game.

Audio Pronunciation: (field re·search)

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Usage Notes:

  • In this instance, field refers to the natural settings of people instead of research conducting in a laboratory or library.
  • A type of qualitative research.
  • Howard Becker (1928), Robert Park (1864–1944), and W.I. Thomas (1863–1947) are leading figures in the development of field research and part of the Chicago School (also called Ecological school) of sociology.
  • Field research is typically longitudinal such as participant observation.
  • Field notes are taken during field research.
  • Observation in the field is either passive, where no direct interaction is made with the subjects or participatory, where a researcher actively engages in the activity with the subjects under study.
  • Also called:
    • fieldwork (field work, field-work)
    • field study
    • qualitative ethnography
  • A (noun) field researcher conducts field research.

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