Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey

Today, students of almost every social science discipline (conflict studies, development, security studies, and related disciplines), engage in research that involves gathering information from primary sources. Primary data is what transforms research from an abstract state to a more ‘real’ relevant body of knowledge. For the research-cum-practice student seeking to get their hands dirty - to experience first hand the realities that inform theories and concepts - the need to prepare for fieldwork has become a must. How does one conduct oneself when on the ground? How does one represent themselves to people who in effect are sources of data? How does one handle the information gathered and present it to their broader academic and professional community? What role does one’s personality, culture, ethics, values play in data gathering and reporting? What does one do in highly emotional and sensitive contexts? How does one observe, analyze and understand the physical, society and cultural aspects of the context in which data is being collected? And most importantly, how does one maneuver the context to achieve the goals of fieldwork without compromising on core pre-determined personal ethics and values.

This course will engage students in a discussion on responsible data gathering. It will highlight the importance of a self-reflective approach in fieldwork where one is prepared to test hypothesis, challenge oneself in the face of new information including being proved wrong. It will also seek to explore how one reconciles personal values, ethics and emotions with fieldwork goals. Students will work through scenarios and have an opportunity to experiment in data gathering and reporting in simulated settings.

This course may be a pre-requisite for J-Term immersive learning courses led by this instructor.

Pushpa Iyer
Morse B105
12:00pm-5:00pm on Sunday, Friday, Saturday at MRSE B105 (Nov 10, 2017 to Nov 12, 2017)
12:00pm-5:00pm on Sunday, Friday, Saturday at MRSE B105 (Nov 3, 2017 to Nov 5, 2017)