Starting Fieldwork: Methods and Experiences by Judith E. Marti
128 pages, $22.95 list
eBook availability
Starting Fieldwork
Methods and Experiences
Published posthumously, this incisive work represents the culmination of a career anthropologist’s passion for teaching and mentoring. With a warm, reassuring writing style, Marti describes fieldwork techniques, some of which distinguish anthropology from the other social sciences and all of which are relevant and extraordinarily useful to young researchers with limited experience. Her narrative adeptly intertwines the experiences of seasoned anthropologists with those of novices in order to illustrate the various methodological techniques.

Starting Fieldwork optimizes foundational methods covered in larger works. Further, it exposes readers to additional contours of the fieldwork enterprise, such as participant-observation in virtual places, museums and archives as field sites, the camera as methodology, photographs as evidence, the importance of note taking, and how reflexivity can enhance research. Marti’s approach to and treatment of the complexities involved in doing fieldwork, including discovering the “hidden” in plain sight, will inspire and boost the confidence of prospective fieldworkers.
“I had a phenomenal experience using Marti’s Starting Fieldwork in my ethnographic research course. It offers short, smart chapters on a variety of methods with a diverse array of examples and questions to aid students. I will certainly use it again!” — Christa Craven, College of Wooster

“A compelling and accessible primer in ethnographic methods for undergraduate students!” — Lanita Jacobs, University of Southern California

“A beautifully written and timely book.” — Jennifer Tookes, Georgia Southern University

“Marti’s easy-to-navigate synthesis of anthropological practices offers students more than basic methodological techniques. Relatable examples of classic and modern fieldwork experiences further guide novices as they prepare for their own first encounters.” — Martha W. Rees, Agnes Scott College
Table of Contents
Part 1: GOING INTO THE FIELD: Things You Need to Know that Are Often Hidden

1. Breaking Anthropologists' Taboos
What They Don't Tell You / Taking the Family to the Field—It Can Be a Boon / Before You Begin: A Note on Informed Consent

2. Studying at Home: What You Don't Expect
The Value of Studying at Home / Anthropology at Home

3. How Should I Act in the Field?
Helpful Tips / Sex in the Field / The Practical: A Note on Safety


6. Participant-Observation
Participant-Observation: It Can't Always Be Taught / What Is Participant-Observation? / How to Learn / The Relationship between Anthropologist and Subject / What to Observe / Studying Diversity in Large Urban Environments

7. Jottings
Jottings: "Hidden and Mysterious" / How to Take Jottings / Ethics / What to Write / Emotions / Writing up Field Notes / Save That Data

8. Interviews
The Nuts and Bolts / How to Interview / The Transcript

9. Museums
Mainstream and Native Museums (Western View) / Native Museums / The Politics of Display

10. Archives
Where Do We Find Archives? / What Is a Document? / Doing Research in an Archive: What You Need to Know / Corroborating and Conflicting Evidence / Guide for Working with Documents

11. Photography as Anthropology
Photography and the Camera as Methodology / The Subject as Collaborator / Photographs as Historical Documents

12. Digital Culture
Digital/Virtual Anthropology / The Interrelationship between People and Technology / How the Medium Shapes the Message / Online Resources

13. Autoethnography

Afterword: Coming Home
When De We Leave the Field? / And How Do We Cope?