200 Pages
    by Routledge

    200 Pages
    by Routledge

    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.

    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)



    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