Reminders When Recording Fieldwork

Capturing everything in the field can be a daunting task. But there are some basic tips that will help make the process smoother:

  • Write notes as soon as possible to avoid information being lost.
  • Capture major themes and broad ideas within 24 hours and share  them with your team.
  • Write down all personal details about the setting (number of people, location, use of space, gender dynamics, product use, etc.).
  • Note direct quotes as well as your impressions.
  • Note moments that produced changes in the context of discussion.
  • A change in story setting, topic or temporal shift.
  • Note moments that produced emotional responses.
  • Note or draw expressions, body language, and non-verbal communication.

Remember, the camcorder is only one of the tools you bring to the field.  Field guides, notebooks, sketchpads and cameras are all part of the toolkit, but more importantly, so are you.

Published by gavinjohnston67

Take an ex-chef who’s now a full-fledge anthropologist and set him free to conduct qualitative research, ethnography, brand positioning, strategy and sociolinguistics studies and you have Gavin. He is committed to understand design and business problems by looking at them through an anthropological lens. He believes deeply in turning research findings into actionable results that provide solid business strategies and design ideas. It's not an insight until you do something with it. With over 18 years of experience in strategy, research, and communications, he has done research worldwide for a diverse set of clients within retail, legal, banking, automotive, telecommunications, health care and consumer products industries.

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