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Fieldwork for Human Geography
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Fieldwork for Human Geography



March 2012 | 240 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
"A highly readable and superbly fun guide to the why and how of doing fieldwork in human geography... I recommend it highly to any geographer-wannabes and practicing-geographers. The latter group, including myself, might well rediscover the fun of doing geography."
- Professor Henry Yeung, National University of Singapore

"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."
- Professor Stuart C. Aitken, San Diego State University

"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, University College London

"If fieldwork is an indispensable component of geographical education then this book is equally essential to making the most of fieldwork...This book gives students the tools to realise the full potential of what, for many, is the highlight of their geography degree."
- Professor Noel Castree, Manchester University

Fieldwork is a core component of Human Geography degree courses. In this lively and engaging book, Richard Phillips and Jennifer Johns provide a practical guide to help every student get the most out of their fieldwork. This book:
  • Encourages students to engage with fieldwork critically and imaginatively
  • Explains methods and contexts
  • Links the fieldwork with wider academic topics.
It looks beyond the contents of research projects and field visits to address the broader experiences of fieldwork: working in groups, understanding your ethical position, developing skills for learning and employment 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 UK, Canada, Singapore, Australia and 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

This book was very useful in helping me to design a lecture on alternative development theories and practices. The book will also serve to supplement further sessions on this module which will discuss these theories in more detail as the year progresses.In particular the chapters on participant observation and participant geographies neatly summarise participatory theories and cross reference a number of key authors and papers on the subject. It also helps to introduce the idea of participatory and action research which allow the reader to consider different epistemologies.

The book also helps to dymistify some of the expectations and concerns students may have about conducting fieldwork abroad especially in a developing country. As such it is neatly split into two parts, 'Approaching the Field' and 'Methods and Contexts.' The first part gives introduces the reader to the practical considerations involved in field work and ranges from justifying the cost, desigining a research proposition to the wider ethical issues involved. The second part presents different scenarios and contexts which the student or researcher could be placed in and the potential value of different epistemologies, ranging from explorer to interviewer to participatory researcher. Clear concise real-life examples and illustrations are provided through out of students and academics in a number of countries to illuminate these ideas, some of which may be new to the reader.

As such it is also being recommended to students as part of their Sociology field trip excursion to Nepal as insights into tried and tested methodologies and methods in that country and in other developing countries are presented.The book serves as a good starting point for students who wish to delve into deeper understandings of fieldwork methodologies but it's simple and practical structure make it a recommended read for those students who also want an overview or introduction to fieldwork research.

Mr Richard George
School of Social Sciences, Liverpool John Moores University
November 27, 2012

There are a lot of books about fieldwork in human geography. I think this one is really amazing, because it presents the content in a simple and activating way. German books on the topic are usually structured a bit differently, and my students enjoyed this approach to learn about fieldwork.
I would always recommend it as a first read.

Dr Torsten Wißmann
Institute of Geography, Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz
August 25, 2012

A really worthwhile text which fills a gap in the market unlike others. The chapters on relating fieldwork to skills and job prospects is particularly useful and timely when we need to be arguing for the relevance of taking a Geography degree. The methods and contexts section is also extremely creative and innovative

Dr Matt Benwell
School of Environmental Science, Liverpool University
August 17, 2012

Very happy with the book. It will be essential reading on a series of our bachelor courses (Human Geography) and master (Cultural Geography)

Mr Peter Groote
Geography , Groningen University (RuG)
July 11, 2012

Phillips and Johns show the importance of fieldwork in geographical research. Their book gives an answer to many urgent questions appearing during the preparation and execution of fieldwork beginning with the importance of the formulation of a research design. It is an inspiring book not only recommendable for bachelor or MA students but also for PhD students and researchers doing fieldwork.

Dr Tobias Boos
Institute of Geography, Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz
July 9, 2012

cover this field afresh as a textbook and fillign a key gap

Mr Richard Kotter
Geography & Environmental Management, Northumbria University
July 3, 2012

I recommended this book as an introduction to empirical work as it offers a simple, easy to read overview.

Mr Frederick Massmann
Department of Geography, Christian-Albrechts-University Kiel
May 3, 2012

Very thoughtful piece of work! Could become a classic for undergrads. It seems to be published under some pressure, for there are some typos who shouldn't be in such a book. I'm looking forward to the publication of a second edition without these annoying spelling problems... Maybe one or two thought could be spared to the old fashioned design which most of my students did not like...

Dr Stefan Zimmermann
Geography, University of Osnabruck
May 2, 2012

Finally, the kind of book many of us have been waiting for.

Dr Amini Kamete
Geography , Bangor University
April 30, 2012
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