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Fieldwork for Human Geography

Fieldwork for Human Geography

March 2012 | 240 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
"A highly readable and superbly fun guide to the why and how of doing fieldwork in human geography... I recommend it highly to any geographer-wannabes and practicing-geographers. The latter group, including myself, might well rediscover the fun of doing geography."
- Professor Henry Yeung, National University of Singapore

"An excellent introduction to the art and science of fieldwork. It makes clear that fieldwork is not just about getting out of the classroom and gaining first-hand experience of places, it is about instilling passion about those places."
- Professor Stuart C. Aitken, San Diego State University

"An indispensible guide to fieldwork that will enrich the practice of geography in a myriad of different ways. In particular, the diverse materials presented here will encourage students and academics alike to pursue new approaches to their work and instil a greater understanding of the conceptual and methodological breadth of their discipline."
- Professor Matthew Gandy, University College London

"If fieldwork is an indispensable component of geographical education then this book is equally essential to making the most of fieldwork...This book gives students the tools to realise the full potential of what, for many, is the highlight of their geography degree."
- Professor Noel Castree, Manchester University

Fieldwork is a core component of Human Geography degree courses. In this lively and engaging book, Richard Phillips and Jennifer Johns provide a practical guide to help every student get the most out of their fieldwork. This book:
  • Encourages students to engage with fieldwork critically and imaginatively
  • Explains methods and contexts
  • Links the fieldwork with wider academic topics.
It looks beyond the contents of research projects and field visits to address the broader experiences of fieldwork: working in groups, understanding your ethical position, developing skills for learning and employment and opening your eyes, ears and minds to the wider possibilities of your trip. Throughout the book, the authors present first person descriptions of field experiences and predicaments, written by fieldtrip leaders and students from around the world including the UK, Canada, Singapore, Australia and Africa.
Introduction: Fieldwork for Human Geographers
Getting the Most out of Fieldwork
Justifying the Cost: Your Degree and Your Job Prospects
Before You Go: Research Design and Preparation
Ethics: Positioning Yourself and Encountering Others
Working in Groups and Travelling Together
Reading the Landscape: Describing and Interpreting Field Sites
Interviewing for Fieldwork
Participant Observation and Participatory Geographies
How to Be an Explorer: Rediscovering Your Curiosity

This is an excellent book that gives the students a good background about how to carry out an investigation in human geography. This will help them with completing their independent research investigation.

Mrs Mary-Ellen Whalley
Social Science , Petroc
September 1, 2016

This book suites well to geography students studying human geography. This text book provides essential knowledge about fieldwork methodology in human geography. Field methods in human geography have some unique approaches, which are not seen elsewhere. Therefore, there is urgent need for special text book in fieldwork methodology in human geography. Geography in higher education expects that students are familiar with research methodology in their discipline. This text book is one way to get familiar with those methods. This text book is not comprehensive, but it is a good starting point. I recommend human geography students to read this book. The first part of the book provides guidelines how to plan your fieldwork, and what aspects you should consider. The second part of this book deals briefly with various fieldwork methods, but unfortunately only few of them.

Dr Petteri Muukkonen
Department of Geography, University of Helsinki
December 8, 2015

An excellent book, which is particularly valued because of:

* An approach centred on doing fieldwork, as opposed individual methods chapters. This makes it much more holistic and it fills a unique gap in teaching

* It has a strong student-oriented focus.

Dr Robert Shaw
Department of Geography, Durham Univ.
July 10, 2014

A good text that provides a slightly different perspective on undertaking fieldwork for Human Geography. The sections on 'Reading the Landscape' and 'Interviewing for Fieldwork' were particularly illuminating.

Earth Sciences & Geography Department, Keele University
November 13, 2013

Liked the overview at the start of chapters and the separate sections.
A little too in depth for the majority of our students who are not geog specialists, but training to lead the subject at a primary level.
Would be ideal for geog degrees.

Ms Kate Glanville
Faculty of Education, Birmingham City University
November 11, 2013

This book provides motivated students with a great insight into how to get the most from their fieldwork. It's not just the nuts and bolts of methods but also about understanding the process.

Dr Mags Adams
Department of Geography, Salford University
October 16, 2013

This text has been very useful for students with limited or no prior exposure to human geography and related concepts. Very readable.

Mr Patrick Meehan
Education , Canterbury Christ Church University
September 5, 2013

Part II is especially useful for background reading before students leave for residential fieldwork - especially chapter 6 - which I will recommend all human geography students read. I will obtain multiple copies for our library.

Dr Carol Ekinsmyth
Dept of Geography, Portsmouth University
May 9, 2013

This is a well written text and interesting to illustrate the challenges of fieldwork in human geography. However, the text is more focused on the challenges surrounding fieldwork rather than specifying the practical methods that can be employed. It does cover some geography and qualitative methods such as interviewing and participant observation, but does lack clear guidelines. However, this is not the purpose of the text. The benefit I observe is about discovering the 'explorer' in your research, generating excitement about fieldwork, and encouraging a new generation of human geographers.

Dr Tavis Potts
Ecology , Scottish Association for Marine Science (University of Highlands and Islands)
March 13, 2013

This book was very useful in helping me to design a lecture on alternative development theories and practices. The book will also serve to supplement further sessions on this module which will discuss these theories in more detail as the year progresses.In particular the chapters on participant observation and participant geographies neatly summarise participatory theories and cross reference a number of key authors and papers on the subject. It also helps to introduce the idea of participatory and action research which allow the reader to consider different epistemologies.

The book also helps to dymistify some of the expectations and concerns students may have about conducting fieldwork abroad especially in a developing country. As such it is neatly split into two parts, 'Approaching the Field' and 'Methods and Contexts.' The first part gives introduces the reader to the practical considerations involved in field work and ranges from justifying the cost, desigining a research proposition to the wider ethical issues involved. The second part presents different scenarios and contexts which the student or researcher could be placed in and the potential value of different epistemologies, ranging from explorer to interviewer to participatory researcher. Clear concise real-life examples and illustrations are provided through out of students and academics in a number of countries to illuminate these ideas, some of which may be new to the reader.

As such it is also being recommended to students as part of their Sociology field trip excursion to Nepal as insights into tried and tested methodologies and methods in that country and in other developing countries are presented.The book serves as a good starting point for students who wish to delve into deeper understandings of fieldwork methodologies but it's simple and practical structure make it a recommended read for those students who also want an overview or introduction to fieldwork research.

Mr Richard George
School of Social Sciences, Liverpool John Moores University
November 27, 2012

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Chapter One

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