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New book drawing on fieldwork in Sub-Saharan Africa

Published on
10 Dec 2014

SMALLResearch and Fieldwork in Development_COVER

I’m delighted to announce the release of a new book that I co-wrote with colleagues Dan Hammett and Chasca Twyman: ‘Research and Fieldwork in Development.’ The book draws on our experiences of doing fieldwork about development (often in the context of Sub-Saharan Africa) and explores both traditional and cutting edge research methods, from interviews and ethnography to spatial data and digital methods. Each chapter provides the reader with an understanding of the theoretical basis of research methods, reflects on their practice and outlines appropriate analysis techniques. The text also provides a cutting edge focus on the role of new media and technologies in conducting research. The final chapters return to a set of broader concerns in development research, providing a new and dynamic set of engagements with ethics and risk in fieldwork, integrating methods and engaging development research methods with knowledge exchange practices.

Each chapter is supported by several case studies written by global experts within the field, documenting encounters and experiences and linking theory to practice. Each chapter is also complemented by an end-of-chapter summary, suggestions for further reading and websites, and questions for further reflection and practice. The text critically locates development research within the field of international development to give an accessible and comprehensive introduction to development research methods.

Some Endorsements of the book:

“One of the great paradoxes of contemporary social science is that researchers often head off into the field – whether the archive, the village, or the corporate headquarters – ill-equipped to conduct a rigorous and systematic field-based project. Research projects require both epistemological sophistication and an immersion in the multiple-methods appropriate to complex fieldwork settings. Research and Fieldwork in Development is an exemplary introduction to these questions and any scholar of development would do well to learn from this rich and compelling text.”
-Professor Michael Watts, Department of Geography, University of California, Berkeley

“Undertaking research on development themes is often daunting for the novice. Choosing from among the increasing number of guidebooks designed to help the researcher avoid becoming little more than a poverty tourist can be equally difficult. This very appealing new book by three experienced authors is distinctively coherent compared to edited volumes. It situates field research within a holistic context that problematises development (defined broadly as tackling poverty) and issues of positionality as well as the more familiar ethical concerns in accessible terms designed to assist rather than deter the aspirant researcher. The series of boxes containing invited ‘reflections’ on specific experiences by other authors enriches the main text. Hammett, Twyman and Graham have produced an invaluable guide for the uninitiated and those wanting to think more reflexively about their fieldwork practices.”
-Professor David Simon, Department of Geography, Royal Holloway University of London, UK, and Mistra Urban Futures, Chalmers University, Gothenburg, Sweden

“This book is an excellent reference for those who are trying to decipher ways to conduct development research. Its value to students and practitioners lies in the ways in which it explains the differences in development research and development practice compared to research in other contexts.”
-Padmashree Gehl Sampath, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) Headquarters, Geneva, Switzerland