Fieldwork

Fieldwork

7. Working collaboratively in a team

There are many benefits to conducting collaborative fieldwork in a team, including getting more done in a shorter amount of time and having multiple perspectives to collect and interpret the data. But collaborative research can also be a challenge.

When working collaboratively with a colleague or other team members in the field, consider some of these questions in advance:

  • How will you divide up the tasks? Will you assign responsibilities based on expertise or have people volunteer based on their interests? Will you have a central coordinator, or will you each be responsible for your data collection and organization? How will you ensure standardization across your team?
  • If you are interviewing together, consider dividing the questions in advance so that you each know who is responsible for which part, as well as for the follow up questions.
  • Consider how you will keep in touch with your collaborators; if you will have a regular meeting, in-person or virtually, and how you will keep in contact outside of those meetings, by text, email, or other means.

Communication, flexibility, and finding time for reflexivity are crucial to working collaboratively in a team. This may involve reviewing meanings given to key terms in the research (Crow et al, 1992), or dividing up responsibilities to cover certain topics (Woods et al, 2000).

References:

Caretta, M.A., and Riaño, Y., 2016. Feminist participatory methodologies in geography: creating spaces of inclusion. Qualitative Research, 16(3), pp.258-266.

Crow, G.M., Levine, L. and Nager, N., 1992. Are three heads better than one? Reflections on doing collaborative interdisciplinary research. American Educational Research Journal, 29(4), pp.737-753.

Lassiter, L.E., 2008. Moving past public anthropology and doing collaborative research. NAPA Bulletin, 29(1), pp.70-86.

Lopez, P. J., and Gillespie, K., 2016. A love story: for ‘Buddy System’ research in the academy. Gender, Place and Culture, 23(12), pp.1689-1700.

Pratt, G., 2010 Collaboration as a feminist strategy. Gender, Place and Culture, 17(1), pp.43-48.