In all large-scale studies, and many small or medium-scale studies, primary data is not collected by the researchers who design and analyse the research but by ‘field workers’. In conventional research publications and methodology text books, this crucial group of researchers are either entirely silenced or are relegated to discussions of negative ‘fieldworker effects’. At Social Surveys we value the insights of everyone within the research process and so we prefer to use the term Field Researcher rather than fieldworker. Field Researchers are skilled people who co-create the research findings through their knowledge of language, context & culture as well as through their experience with research methodologies. We therefore use various processes to ensure their knowledge and understanding flows into the research process at various points. This includes providing inputs to questionnaire formulation, translation, in-field method and sampling adaptation, post-field immediate-insights debriefings and inputs to results interpretation.
How do you recognise and incorporate the knowledge of field researchers in your studies?