First Experience with Fieldnotes

19 Sep

For qualitative research, I have to learn a lot about different forms of research. One skill we need to acquire is the art of taking and writing field notes. As part of this process, we need to keep a journal of our experiences. This will be where I keep my journal. If you have no interest whatsoever in field notes from a Farmer’s Market, skip this post.

I’ll admit that I was in no way excited about taking field notes. It requires me to go out in public and talk to strangers. This is not really what I enjoy doing. I like being around people, but I don’t generally enjoy talking to strangers, and I’m TERRIBLE at small talk.

This year I’m working at the ground level on a project regarding the Local Food Movement. We’re researching to see how the local food movement is a location for learning in the community. This semester I take part in what is already set up, and next semester I choose my own angle of research I want to take within the project. So that all of us start off on the same foot, we all went to a farmer’s market this week to take notes.

I decided I would spend my time a the Local Food Shift booth at the Farmer’s Market. I thought this might be a good way to observe people as they inquire and learn about making the shift to purchasing local foods. However, this booth apparently does not get a lot of traffic after their annual “Local Food Week” event. Rather than doing much observing, I really ended up talking to people and essentially interviewing. I had a great time visiting with the two ladies running the booth. In the future, I actually think I would need to not introduce myself to anyone and actually just sit somewhere and watch. Since I was talking with people, I was not able to watch much.

The Transition Colorado ladies directed me to another booth at the market representing a local organization that runs a garden manned almost entirely by students ages 10-18. This was also a great experience that essentially ended up being an interview. I learned about this program that creates jobs for young people that are often now taken by college students or other adults because of the economy. The entire program is focused on diversity and helping those in need.

I had an AMAZING time! I definitely did not expect this. I am going to figure out how to use this organization for my research project. I am so excited about it and what I can learn about how these students are learning and how they are helping to create equity with regard to eating healthy foods. I like that the program purposefully pulls from a variety of schools and is purposeful to employ students from lower-income families. This not only provides income for those families and students, but also helps with equity issues regarding healthy food choices. I am also intrigued by the way this organization works to include/educate/help the elderly, those with disabilities, and other organizations, such as homeless shelters.

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Posted by on September 19, 2011 in Fieldnotes Journal, Grad School


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