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Field work

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(Redirected from Fieldwork)

Field work is a general descriptive term for the collection of raw data in the natural and social sciences, such as archaeology, biology, ecology, environmental science, geology, geophysics, paleontology, anthropology, linguistics, and sociology. Field work, which is conducted in situ, can be contrasted with laboratory research which is conducted in a quasi-controlled environment.

Field work may differ depending on whether the subjects of study are alive or dead, and in their habitats or buried in the earth. The excavation of fossils and archaeological sites constitutes field work; so does the interviewing or observation of people to learn their languages, their folklore, and their social structures. Especially when humans themselves are the subject of study, protocols must be devised to avoid the risk of observer bias and the acquisition of too theoretical or idealized explanations of the actual workings of a culture.


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