Field Research

Elisabeth Jean Wood

in The Oxford Handbook of Comparative Politics

Published in print July 2009 | ISBN: 9780199566020
Published online September 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780191577482 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks of Political Science

Field Research

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  • Comparative Politics
  • Political Methodology


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This article addresses ‘why leave the office’ questions, primarily through a discussion of exemplary works that draw on field research. The first section focuses on James Scott's Weapons of the Weak, which is a classic work of field research in comparative politics. It then turns to some recent works that explore several related topics, using a combination of surveys, participant observation, and interviews. Other field research methods, trends toward natural and field experiments, and combinations of field methods and non-field methods are also discussed. The last portion of the article concentrates on the challenges that field researcher's encounter, irrespective of the particular method they use.

Keywords: field research; James Scott; Weapons of the Weak; methods; trends; non-field methods; field methods; challenges

Article.  11866 words. 

Subjects: Comparative Politics ; Political Methodology

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