human subjects to get information. Field Research Analysis help

Field Research Methods

Field research, also known as primary research, involves using human subjects to get information. These methods can be formalized (ex: a politician devices a phone poll to be given to millions of citizens, and the results are analyzed by a team of statisticians), or used informally (ex: a student interviews his grandmother about life during the Great Depression). Field research can be valuable since you receive your information straight from the source, or sources, themselves. Since you are in the driver’s seat, you can customize your research to suit the needs of your particular project. Three methods will be discussed in this lesson: interviews, observations, and surveys.

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In interviews, you will directly question a person who has some knowledge related to your research question. Interviews work best when your research focuses on a topic with which your interviewee has direct experience. Alternately, if your topic for research is so current or so specialized that not much has been published on it, an interview can be a great way to gather more authoritative information than the library or Web can provide.

Deciding who to interview can be tough. You need to consider the ethos of your subject. In other words, does he or she have authority to discuss a topic? Look at this example: A student wants to write about Hurricane Katrina’s impact. Someone who witnessed the devastation of Hurricane Katrina firsthand would be a great source. An expert meteorologist who knows about hurricanes would also be a great source. The question is what type of information would best help the student’s paper? If the student’s goal is to arouse pathos (emotion) in the reader, the eye-witness would be a better source. If the writer was aiming for facts (logos), the meteorologist would contribute the most.

After choosing a person to interview, remember to mind your manners!

  • Come prepared with an initial list of questions. It is best to do some pre-research so you don’t waste time in the interview asking for basic information you can find somewhere else. Remember, you selected your subject because they had something unique to contribute!
  • Schedule the interview well in advance. Choose a variety of times that work for you so that you have options ready if your interviewee is busy. You will also want to find a convenient location for the conversation. Your interviewee should have your contact information in case s/he needs to reschedule.
  • On the day of the interview, make sure to dress well and be prepared with note-taking implements and a recording device. Some people do not like being recorded, so be sure to request permission in advance. Finally, turn off your cell phone and other distractions so you can focus on your subject!
  • Lastly, once the interview is over, remember to say thanks… a quick email goes a long way.

Interviews can also be conducted over email, although this method can be slow (especially if the interviewee is busy!) and leaves less opportunity for follow-up questions and instant clarification if any information comes up that is especially intriguing or confusing. It is ok to use Skype, the phone, instant messaging, or chat to conduct interviews. You will indicate the method used on your Works Cited page:

Last name of subject, first name of subject. Method of interview. Date of interview.

Jones, Jane. Personal Interview. 26 Feb. 2011.

Jones, Jane. E-Mail Interview. 26 April 2011.


  1. Field Research Analysis. For this assignment, view the following sample that use field research. It’s ok if you’re not familiar with the topic being discussed. The goal is to analyze the techniques used.

You will be asked to answer the following questions based on your selection:

  • Did the writer effectively use their field research method? How can you tell (give one to two examples)?
  • What could be done to improve the field research used?

Here is a link about Field Research:

Your assignment is worth 50 points and will be scored using the following rubric:


Max Points

Content: The assignment clearly answers both questions and shows knowledge of the lesson content and readings.


Organization: Each answer is organized around a point of focus within the first sentence. Ideas flow logically between each sentence.


Grammar and Mechanics: If any errors are present, they are minimal (less than 3) and do not affect comprehension.


Tone and Diction: Writer uses appropriate college-level vocabulary and standard diction (avoiding slang, TXT-speak).


Total Points:


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