Researchers engaging in participant observation often refer to "field notes" as part of their data collection next to the more traditional interviews. But what are field notes exactly? Are they different from field diaries and in what way? What should we write down? Are there specific tips to help us make "good observation"? Even once we find a good strategy to write our notes, we face a second challenge on how to use this data in our analysis.
For this session, Émilie Fort will share her experience at writing field notes, field diaries and the writing process post-fieldwork. To prepare for the session, you can read:
- Fort, É. (2022). Managing our personal traits in the field: exploring the methodological and analytical benefits of mobilizing field diaries. International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 25(3), 345-356.
- Fort, É. (2020). Acknowledging the Long-Lasting Effects of Fieldwork Experience: Emotions and the Writing Process. LSE Field Research Methods Lab.
Émilie Fort has a PhD in political science from Laval University (Québec, Canada). Her doctoral dissertation focused on the role of territory in the construction of Serbian identities in post-conflict Kosovo. She then conducted postdoctoral research at the School of Government and International Affairs (Durham University) on women's activism in the former Yugoslavia. Émilie Fort's main research interests are individual narratives, (collective) identities, nationalism, and qualitative methods