Reflections on field work proposals

When I was reading the research proposals for my IFW International Fieldwork module in Sociology that we offer here at LJMU it made me think about past field trips to London and to think about the connection between tourism, regeneration and the debates which are taking place in Soho. One question that came to mind was if the legalisation and gentrification of Amsterdam was leading it to become sanitised and ‘twee’ as suggest by Mullin in this article in 2015
We saw the impact of this on an urban trail with Magali from Middlesex University well worth checking out her research! The urban tour gave students and staff a real insight into key issues in Soho

Urban tour soho 2017

It also made me think about the role that blogging has in this module as in the past we have used reflective diaries in assessing field work modules given the rise of social media it was a logical step to move towards blogging. Maybe we now also need to think about vlogging and other forms of social media such as Instagram? Its always good to hear about the impact our course from past students and we now share this on our Departmental Sociology blog page and in LJMU news items – note to self – need to get more feedback like this! It has also made me reflect on how more needs to be written on methods and field work and how I need to at some point reflect on this and do some more research into the value of this assessment within the sociology programme and maybe do another small research project with students like we did in 2017 at the LJMU Teaching and Learning conference – I must write this up as an article!

Reading the proposals also made me think about the role of covert and overt observation and brought to mind this article about the night time economy in Manchester – this would be a good example to use in class next year as the ones I used this year were too much focused on young people and educational settings.

There are also some useful ethical guidelines out there which go beyond the BSA and are worth looking at to see how ethical advice is then used in practice. This is one example but there are many more would love to see people post there ideas below.

One of the benefits of blogging is you can record organisations you want to see and also explore those you would like to see but maybe cant for some reason – the information on their sites can still provide good insights into the issues you are exploring – coming across this blog from a visit I made to London in 2013 has reminded me to follow up on some research ideas linked to rehabilitation work that is going in and around Brixton and Brixton Pop – and reminds me I must share these contacts with second years who may wish to do their dissertations in this area.

Another useful source of information could be from lecturers in Universities and searching the news items is one way of finding out who does what within a University and could lead to some useful key informants – if someone contacted me after reading a news item about me I know I would be more likely to respond to a request for an interview than a basic email asking me to meet them – just ideas I think my students will benefit from so am sharing here. It’s also good to keep your eye on the general news with sites such as this which can help you identify potentially hot topics that people will one happy to talk about.

I also need to spend some time finding out who is working in the same field as me and researching issues of sustainable development, gender and education – the Centre for Sustainable Development Studies could be a good place to start !

So this blog is really to empty my head and share my wider generic feedback to my students on this module and to say you don’t need to write perfect blogs but the more you write the better you will get and the more you will have to reflect back on when you are writing your final report for this module – so happy blogging !

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