Today, we share a round-up of fieldwork tips that we have gathered along the way. These tips can help you be safe and comfortable while also gathering accurate, reliable data in the field.
1.Record your plans in advance.
You should give at least two people who are staying behind a detailed version of your itinerary for the trip. This way, they know where you should be and can alert authorities if they think something is wrong. Once you have done this, remember to update your contacts if you make any changes to your plans.
2.Pack for emergencies.
Nobody wants to carry more supplies than they need, but don’t skimp on emergency preparedness items. A well-stocked first aid kit is important, include items such as: tweezers, safety pins, triangular bandages, antibiotic ointment, antiseptic towelettes, band-aids, pain relievers, emergency blankets, water purification tablets, signaling devices, and matches.
3.Call your health insurance provider.
Check in with your health insurance provider before you leave to identify places near your fieldwork site where you can receive covered medical care. This can make things less stressful and less expensive if you do need to seek emergency treatment.
4.If traveling to a new country, learn about the culture.
Gaining at least basic knowledge about the country you are visiting can help you to feel more comfortable adjusting to the different culture. Noting the basic social norms will help you to communicate effectively with locals. If you are a woman, you might also want to keep in mind how the culture treats females and how that might impact your experience.
5.Wear weather-appropriate clothing
Layers are your best friend and can help you adapt to any changes in weather. As a general rule, go with a base layer, a middle layer, and an outer shell. The base layer should wick away sweat while the middle layer provides insulation. Finally, the outer layer should provide waterproofing. How thick the layers need to be depend on your destination.
Do not risk losing your field notes and observations by recording them in notebooks which do not offer a backup option. Instead, digitally record findings on a cell phone or tablet so that even if you were to lose or break the device your notes would be safely stored digitally. Conseris is a great option for this because it works even without wifi.
7.Address conflict resolution with your team members before you leave.
Fieldwork is stressful and this can lead to tension and arguing between team members. Having a frank conversation about how you will handle conflicts when they arise can help to keep everyone working together cooperatively. This can prevent costly mistakes to the project and also make the work environment more comfortable.
8.Bring something to remind you of home.
Again, the desire to keep a light load can tempt you to leave anything that is not essential behind. But, packing a small momento that reminds you of home can provide great comfort when times get tough. Photos of family, friends, and pets take up almost no space but can serve as a happy reminder of those waiting for your return.
9.Stay in the moment.
Fieldwork can offer many once in a lifetime experiences. It can be easy to let stress or worry take over especially while doing such difficult work, but try to focus on staying present and enjoying your time in the field. Any fieldwork trip is sure to be unique and you will want to remember every second.
Hopefully, these tips are helpful to researchers heading out on one of their first fieldwork trips. We hope you have an amazing time on your journey!