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Health E-Learning and Media Team
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4. Preparing for fieldwork - deciding what to observe and how to record observations

Once you have a clear set of aims and objectives for your research study and have decided that fieldwork is the right approach to use, your aims and objectives will help you determine both your methods and what you want to observe. Having an in-depth knowledge of the research topic, and the field, will also assist in planning and performing appropriate observations.

Fieldwork requires a standard for observation and interpretation of the data obtained. Observing not only what is happening, but why it is happening allows the researcher to differentiate regular from irregular behaviours and how these relate to the theoretical purpose of the observation.

Interacting with research participants in the field is also essential to help clarify and add depth to the emerging understanding about what is being observed.

As you progress with fieldwork and become immersed in the setting, you will develop a deeper understanding of what you need to observe in order answer your research question.

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