Methodology: How to Optimally Collect Data in the Fields

  • Arnold Groh


The methodological aspects of this chapter cover a wide range, starting with research questions to consider even before the beginning of any field research preparations; then looking at the designing of the field research itself, the techniques to apply in the field, the data analysis and evaluation methods; and also addressing issues to be mindful of regarding the presentation of the results after the return from the research. Ethical aspects play a major role throughout these aspects, as transcultural dominance effects would not only debilitate the data but could also have detrimental impacts on the indigenous people concerned. Therefore, it is necessary to apply minimally invasive techniques, which should not only go along with the researchers’ total immersion into the indigenous context but also, in most of these field situations, due to previous destruction of the indigenous culture, with rescue work. Some of the legal aspects, which have been extensively looked at in the previous chapter, such as the issue of full, free, prior and informed consent, are taken up, where necessary, along with particular articles of the UN Indigenous Rights Declaration. This chapter also reviews the common methodological concepts of validity, reliability and objectivity and their purport for our topic, looking at field encounter as quasi-experimentation, as well as at the application of qualitative and quantitative methods. With regard to the actual field research situation, socio-cognitive mechanisms pertaining to the persons involved are analysed with special attention to the constellations of influence, and the role of translators is investigated. Furthermore, researchers exemplary for the history of transcultural field encounters are referred to.


Epistemology Data collection Philosophy of science Research ethics Vulnerability and resilience Transcultural copying Social cognition 


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Authors and Affiliations

  • Arnold Groh
    • 1
  1. 1.Technical University of BerlinBerlinGermany

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