Definition of Field Research
Examples of Field Research
- Interviewing people at a public park or observing people’s behavior at a football game.
- Visiting the library and making observations.
Field Research Pronunciation
Syllabification: field re·search
- American English – /fEEld rEE-suhrch/
- British English – /fEEld ri-sUHRch/
International Phonetic Alphabet
- American English – /fild riˈsɜrʧ/
- British English – /fiːld rɪˈsɜːʧ/
- In this instance, “field” refers to the natural settings of people instead of research conducted in a laboratory or library.
- Field research scholars include Howard S. Becker (born 1928), Robert Park (1864–1944), and W. I. Thomas (1863–1947), who are the leading figures in the development of the field and part of the Chicago School (also called Ecological School).
- Field research is typically longitudinal (e.g., participant observation) and often ethnographic.
- 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).
- A type of qualitative research.
- Also called:
- fieldwork (field work, field-work)
- field study
- qualitative ethnography
- A (noun) field researcher conducts field research.
- “[A field experiment] enables researchers to observe various forms of social behavior under conditions in which they normally occur. In a laboratory study, subjects know they are being observed and thus may display the behavior they believe is desirable” (Kendall 2006:27).
- “Ethnographers seek out the insider’s viewpoint. Because culture is the knowledge people use to generate behavior and interpret experience, the ethnographer seeks to understand group members’ behavior from the inside, or cultural, perspective. Instead of looking for a subject to observe, ethnographers look for an informant to teach them the culture” (Spradley and McCurdy 2008:4).
- Qualitative Research Resources – Books, Journals, and Helpful Links
- Quantitative Research Resources – Books, Journals, and Helpful Links
- Word origin of “field” and “research” – Online Etymology Dictionary: etymonline.com
- Emerson, Robert M., Rachel I. Fretz, and Linda L. Shaw. 2011. Writing Ethnographic Fieldnotes. 2nd ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
- Rossman, Gretchen B., and Sharon F. Rallis. 2012. Learning in the Field: An Introduction to Qualitative Research. 3rd ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.
- Sunstein, Bonnie S., and Elizabeth Chiseri-Strater. 2012. Fieldworking: Reading and Writing Research. 4th ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s Press.
- Conducting Field Research: writing.colostate.edu
- Institute for Field Research: ifrglobal.org
- field experiment
- field note
- participant observation
- qualitative research
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Spradley, James P., and David W. McCurdy. 2008. Conformity and Conflict: Readings in Cultural Anthropology. 13th ed. Boston: Pearson Education.
Abercrombie, Nicholas, Stephen Hill, and Bryan Turner. 2006. The Penguin Dictionary of Sociology. 5th ed. London: Penguin.
The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language. 5th ed. 2011. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
Bruce, Steve, and Steven Yearley. 2006. The SAGE Dictionary of Sociology. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.
Brym, Robert J., and John Lie. 2007. Sociology: Your Compass for a New World. 3rd ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Griffiths, Heather, Nathan Keirns, Eric Strayer, Susan Cody-Rydzewski, Gail Scaramuzzo, Tommy Sadler, Sally Vyain, Jeff Bry, Faye Jones. 2016. Introduction to Sociology 2e. Houston, TX: OpenStax.
Jary, David, and Julia Jary. 2000. Collins Dictionary of Sociology. 3rd ed. Glasgow, Scotland: HarperCollins.
Kendall, Diana. 2011. Sociology in Our Times. 8th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Macmillan. (N.d.) Macmillan Dictionary. (https://www.macmillandictionary.com/).
Merriam-Webster. (N.d.) Merriam-Webster Dictionary. (http://www.merriam-webster.com/).
Oxford University Press. (N.d.) Oxford Dictionaries. (https://www.oxforddictionaries.com/).
Princeton University. 2010. WordNet. (https://wordnet.princeton.edu/).
Random House Webster’s College Dictionary. 1997. New York: Random House.
Scott, John, and Gordon Marshall. 2005. A Dictionary of Sociology. New York: Oxford University Press.
Shepard, Jon M. 2010. Sociology. 11th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
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Turner, Bryan S., ed. 2006. The Cambridge Dictionary of Sociology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Wikipedia contributors. (N.d.) Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation. (https://en.wikipedia.org/).
ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)
Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “field research.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Retrieved December 11, 2023 (https://sociologydictionary.org/field-research/).
APA – American Psychological Association (6th edition)
field research. (2013). In K. Bell (Ed.), Open education sociology dictionary. Retrieved from https://sociologydictionary.org/field-research/
Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date – Chicago Manual of Style (16th edition)
Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “field research.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Accessed December 11, 2023. https://sociologydictionary.org/field-research/.
MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)
“field research.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2013. Web. 11 Dec. 2023. <https://sociologydictionary.org/field-research/>.