This stream considers the practice, methods, ethics, and politics of using ethnographic fieldwork to gather research data. The primary focus of this stream is on the use of immersive methods such as participant observation, where observation is the primary method of data gathering. Ethnographic fieldwork can be mentally or physically challenging and exhilarating in equal measure, as well as throwing up dilemmas that even the best methods textbooks cannot predict or provide solutions to. This stream will enable students to debate different fieldwork approaches, dynamics, and dilemmas arising from many different disciplines.

Topics of interest to expand upon include (but are in no way limited to) the following:

  • managing the ‘messiness’ of fieldwork;
  • the interpretive gap between researcher and researched;
  • researcher positionality and related ethical concerns;
  • experiences of researcher vulnerability when conducting ethnographic fieldwork;
  • managing and maintaining field relations (during and after leaving the field); and
  • recording, analysing, and disseminating nuanced and complex fieldnotes, including non-textual fieldnotes.

Academic lead for 2023/24: Dr Aizuddin Mohamed Anuar