The Field Research in Political Science project has drawn on several sources, including our interviews with experienced field researchers; our scrutiny of countless books and articles based on, or about, field research; and our own experiences in the field and teaching courses about field research at APSA and IQMR. In addition, we developed and conducted an original survey.
We invited a random sample of political science faculty members at colleges and universities across the United States to participate in a survey on field research. The survey inquired about scholars’ preparation for field research; asked them to describe their field research experiences; and requested that they share their thoughts on the challenges of fieldwork as well as the lessons they have learned. In all, 1,142 people took the survey in late 2011 and early 2012, giving specifics about 1,468 individual field research projects. The information gathered through the survey is helping us better understand the place and value of field research in the discipline, and will have implications for teaching, advising, funding, and the practice of research.
Some of the findings from the survey are presented in our forthcoming book. We are also preparing standalone articles on specific aspects of field research for PS: Political Science & Politics or similar journals.
We are deeply grateful to all those who spent time taking the Field Research in Political Science survey.