When conducting research in developing countries, an ability to negotiate a bewildering array of cultural and logistical obstacles is essential. Overseas Research: A Practical Guide distills essential lessons from scores of students and scholars who have collected data and done fieldwork abroad, including how to prepare for the field, how and where to find funding for one’s fieldwork, issues of personal safety and security, and myriad logistical and relational issues.
By encouraging researchers to think through the challenges of research before they begin it, Overseas Research will help prepare fieldworkers for the practical, logistical, and psychological considerations of very demanding work, help save valuable time, make the most of scarce financial resources, and enhance the quality of the field research. This third edition contains new material on social media, including representation of research subjects/collaborators, students’ digital branding and image, and representing universities abroad when posting publicly. It also covers emerging technologies such as solar panels for power in remote locations, new ways of digitally sending and receiving money, and incorporates more perspectives of women, LGBTQ+ people, and people of color researching abroad.
The book will be of interest to overseas fieldworkers, and also to undergraduates in subjects such as anthropology, economics, geography, history, international studies, politics, sociology, and development studies.
Table of Contents
List of Field Narratives
List of Contributors
Preface and Acknowledgements to the Third Edition
2 Identifying a Site and Funding Source
Exploratory Research Trips
3 Predeparture Preparations
Money and Travel
Packing: What to Bring, What to Leave
Being LGBTQ+ in the Field
Securing Approvals and Research Clearances
4 Setting Up to Live and Work
Becoming Familiar with an Unfamiliar Environment
Money and Housing
Bureaucratic and Legal Matters
With Family in the Field
Issues of Identity in Your Daily Experiences
Relations with Expatriates
Maintaining Your Well-being in the Field
Settling in Academically
5 The Logistics of Fieldwork
6 Safety and Security Matters
Personal Safety: The Basics
Less Obvious Safety Strategies
Gender, Race and Sexual Orientation-based violence
Keeping Research Equipment and Data Safe
7 The Challenges of the Field
Choosing and Cultivating Informants
Broaching Sensitive Subjects
Managing and Minimizing Your Cultural and Ecological Footprint
Giving Back and Maintaining Credibility in the Field
8 Knowing When to Go Home
Narrowing the Topic
Clearing the Decks
Packing Up the Data
9 Pulling It All Together: The Postpartum
Beginning (and Completing) the Writing Process
10 Epilogue: It’s Never Over
Case Study Research and Comparative Method
Ethnographic Methods and Qualitative Research on Human Subjects
Fieldwork in General
Websites (Blogs, and Other Repositories of Useful Information)
Christopher B. Barrett is the Stephen B. and Janice G. Ashley Professor of Applied Economics and Management, International Professor of Agriculture, Professor of Economics, and Professor of Global Development at Cornell University, USA.
Jeffrey Cason is Provost and the Edward C. Knox Professor of International Studies and Political Science at Middlebury College, USA.
Erin C. Lentz is Assistant Professor of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin, USA.
"The authors offer practical advice on navigating the complexities of conducting research abroad. It tackles the challenges posed by diverse cultures, foreign infrastructures, and established norms in a refreshing and digestible way. Your research journeys will benefit from their insights."
- Angela Evans, Dean of the Lyndon B Johnson School of Public Affairs, University of Texas at Austin
"Simply indispensable reading for anyone considering conducting research overseas. From planning to execution, from the most basic personal considerations to high-minded professional and intellectual concerns, the book offers concrete, accessible, and indeed practical advice by emergent and experienced scholars from different disciplines on the joys and perils of conducting research abroad."
- Carlos J. Vélez-Blasini, Dean of International Programs and Professor of Psychology, Middlebury College
"Every researcher should read this book before beginning fieldwork. It’s like having an extended conversation with your advisor, best friend and parents, all wrapped into one. You might not need every piece of advice, but there are suggestions and stories in the book that even the most experienced field researcher can use."
- Wendy W. Wolford, Vice Provost for International Affairs and Robert A. and Ruth E. Polson Professor of Global Development, Cornell University