The Field Study Handbook

Book Review: The Field Study Handbook, by Jan Chipchase

by TOM HOY, Stripe Partners Jan Chipchase has done something few of us would dare: write down his trade secrets and give them away in a book. In The Field Study Handbook he shares hard-earned lessons from running ethnographic research projects across the world. At face value the Handbook delivers on its promise. It lays out, often in painstaking detail, the nuances of how to stage a successful project. Everything from costing a proposal and folder-naming strategies, through to how to seat a team during a fieldwork interview and make an impact with your deliverables. But importantly, it also communicates a human, sometimes esoteric perspective about why we choose to do this kind of work in the first place. And it is this that elevates the book from a useful how-to guide to something more vital and existential. Sharp insights can be found on most pages, particularly in relation to the author’s true passion – running projects ‘off the grid’ in developing countries. The text is at its best when Chipchase relates how...

The Art of Sharing

by JAN CHIPCHASE, Studio D Radiodurans To understand the impact research can have requires an appreciation of how content ebbs and flows in an organisation, how ideas are passed from person to person and adopted, and how institutions internalise information, politics, and an acute sense of—wait for it—timing. A well-thought-out sharing process recognises the work of the team and is framed by the sharer. Poorly thought-out sharing marginalises team members and partners, building resentment that lives long after the project is completed. This article, drawn from The Field Study Handbook, delves into the art of sharing for impact. Why We Share Research is shared to evangelise a point of view. It positions the individual, team, and organisation as thought leaders, and primes the audience for what is to come. The primary advantage of thought leadership is not, as many observers believe, the elevated status of the sharer, but rather that it attracts conversations from a nascent community. Which, in turn, makes the work...