The Field Study Handbook

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Yesterday, I finished reading this masterpiece by Jan Chipchase.

Never imagined I would be reading such a thick 524-page book, cover to cover (unaided by an audiobook). It was a delightful journey. The idea of eating an elephant one bite at a time manifested while I turn the last page after reflecting forward. It took me about a month of reading with a total quantified 40 hours (averaging 1.5 hours a day) — I guess 30% of that time was me wandering and daydreaming being in the field again.

While the Handbook appears to be a practical reference, a How-to guide to running international field research projects, where Jan distilled his over 20-years of experience in the field. My favorite parts, heavily highlighted, are when he spin-off to a philosophical tone revealing the Why-to behind things, and the ways we observe and interact, It by itself feels like a guide to becoming a better curious human in the world.

After all, this is the promise, that comes along as the book sub-title:

Travel anywhere, make sense of the world, and make a difference. #

And it sure remitted that energy. Whether I’m traveling on a RAKUDA project, or simply at home prepping my morning coffee, the field researchers mindset is more present today than ever before. And this reference will always be part of my traveling library for further studying.

Thanks, Jan.

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