Purpose of these subjects


The purpose of these subjects is to introduce students to the experience of anthropological fieldwork, in this instance in the Pacific Islands. We may define "fieldwork" as the gathering of data through direct experience, with all the philosophical problems such an activity involves.

These subjects cannot be completed unless the student undertakes the full fieldwork travel.

This experience could be through interviewing "informants", people who provide research information either in response to a structured questionnaire (a list of queries) or a research schedule (a list of topics, not specific questions, to be covered in an interview). In social anthropology, the most common field technique is "participant observation", which involves actually taking part in the daily lives of a research group, observing what they do (as opposed to asking them) and carefully recording the results. There often is considerable difference between what people say they do and what they actually do.

Success in fieldwork is never guaranteed. The fieldworker may falter, field conditions may prove very difficult, the research population may pose unexpected challenges.

NB: An e–mail account would make communications much easier. All work may be submitted by e–mail (see above).
 


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