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Fieldwork for Human Geography
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Fieldwork for Human Geography



© 2012 | 240 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd

This book encourages students to critically engage with the reasons for doing fieldwork and what they can get out, explains methods and contexts, and links the fieldwork with wider academic topics. It looks beyond the contents of research projects and field visits to address the wider experience of fieldwork: working in groups; understanding your ethical position; 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 U.K., U.S.A., Canada, Singapore, and South Africa.

 
Introduction: Fieldwork for Human Geographers
 
PART ONE: APPROACHING THE FIELD
 
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
 
PART TWO: METHODS AND CONTEXTS
 
Reading the Landscape: Describing and Interpreting Field Sites
 
Interviewing for Fieldwork
 
Participant Observation and Participatory Geographies
 
How to Be an Explorer: Rediscovering Your Curiosity

A highly readable and superbly fun guide to the why and how of doing fieldwork in human geography, this book offers very persuasive perspectives to its target audience - undergraduates who otherwise might just mourn about going into the "foreign" field or take the trip too lightly as a free/subsidized holiday. I recommend it highly to any geographer-wannabes and practicing-geographers. The latter group, including myself, might well rediscover the fun of doing geography
Henry Yeung
Professor of Economic Geography, National University of Singapore


Fieldwork is the heart of most geographic endeavours to the extent that it stimulates our passions and pushes us to ask the pithy questions that build disciplinary knowledge. This book provides 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
Stuart C. Aitken
Professor, Department of Geography, San Diego State University


This book is set to be 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
Professor of Human Geography, University College London


If fieldwork is an indispensable component of geographical education then this book is equally essential to making the most of fieldwork: at last, students have a guide to making the most of their journeys abroad or closer to home.

At its best fieldwork is a formative experience in which learning about other places is a process of learning about oneself. This book gives students the tools to realise the full potential of what, for many, is the highlight of their geography degree.

Fieldwork is about expanding your horizons while reflecting critically on your own place in the world; this book helps students get the most out of their travels - be they abroad or closer to home
Noel Castree
Professor of Geography, Manchester University


Takes readers through the stages of planning, undertaking, analysing and reflecting on the fieldwork experience. It includes discussions of key issues such as ethics, health and safety, justifying the cost of fieldwork, working in groups, methods of field research and the transferable skills that fieldwork can help to develop. The text is engaging and suitably illustrated with a number of personal "postcards" from scholars who are well known for their fieldwork practice, as well as from recent graduates who reflect on their own experiences in the field... Fieldwork for Human Geography is far more grounded in the field than the more abstract discussions that typify many methods textbooks. There are examples, anecdotes and photographs, as well as more substantive reflections on working in various fieldwork situations.
Times Higher Education


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
November 20, 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.

Dr SIMON PEMBERTON
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

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter One


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