Overseas Research : A Practical Guide book cover
3rd Edition

Overseas Research
A Practical Guide

ISBN 9780367257026
Published March 18, 2020 by Routledge
200 Pages

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USD $46.95

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Book Description

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

1 Introduction

2 Identifying a Site and Funding Source

Site Selection

Exploratory Research Trips

Language Training

Finding Funding


3 Predeparture Preparations

Money and Travel



Packing: What to Bring, What to Leave

Family Matters

Being LGBTQ+ in the Field

Academic Preparations

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

Research Equipment


Research Assistants

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

Crosschecking Data

Broaching Sensitive Subjects

Recording Interviews

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

Organizing Data

Beginning (and Completing) the Writing Process

Culture Shock

10 Epilogue: It’s Never Over

Post-fieldwork Obligations

Post-fieldwork Opportunities

Selected Bibliography

Archival Research

Case Study Research and Comparative Method

Ethnographic Methods and Qualitative Research on Human Subjects

Fieldwork in General


Living Abroad

Quantitative Methods

Research Ethics

Study Abroad

Survey Research

Websites (Blogs, and Other Repositories of Useful Information)


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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