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Field Research

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Field research that character can dive right into the center of the target communities offer an attractive solution to eliminate the limitations of the study posed the use of other methods. On the other hand also, some of the obstacles encountered can not be underestimated. Investigators say Neuman field research should be able to "think while standing". That is, the researcher as research instrument in the face of an uncertain event in the field, have reacted with a quick mind. State of uncertainty coupled with a very large amount of information also makes the field of psychological and physical research is relatively more severe.

Field research methods are introduced in the academic arena in the second half of the 19th century. In general, this method diterapkanoleh anthropological research. [1] According to Bronislaw Malinoski, one of the founders in the 1920s, social researchers must interact directly and indigenous communities living together, learning the customs, beliefs and social processes. Over time, methods of field research started to be used also by other disciplines. Application of research methods to study other fields is the right step, because of its ability to simultaneously map the cultural aspects, values ​​and activities of the society in which an object of research is growing and developing. However, there are some problems that need to be observed in the application of field research methods ..

For many researchers, field research is a challenge as well as its own preoccupations. Join a community of complete strangers, living in remote areas far from civilization, met many new things and so is an adventure that can not be explained with just words. Fieldresearch, as well as other qualitative research felt closer to the reality field, rather than quantitative research carried out by a complex statistical and mathematical formulas that tend to be "cool". Field research prefer the interfacial interaction with the community in a natural environment. Proximity to the natural environment that makes field research have a match to be applied to studies of society and culture.


Field research is a form of research that aims to reveal the meaning given by members of the public on the behavior and the reality around. Field method is used when the method of survey research or experimental felt impractical, or when the field of research still lies with the boulder. Field researchdapat also positioned as paving the way for the survey and experimental methods. Unaradjan [2] to describe the differences witty survey methods and experimental compared with the field research, through a parable the story of a bird hunter and dog hunters. Wrote, ".... at a site large enough hunt, a hunter came along with a dog that's for hunting. The dog walked into the premises without a clear direction and purpose (I). He continued walking until one finds something; of the place the dog began to change his behavior to be more focused toward the direction the smell is (II). The next stop for the hunter. The hunter gave the order to approach the target until the birds fly. Then the dog hunters menembaknya.Sementara it down until the bird fell and was ordered to retrieve the dead bird (III). "

Part (I) in the above story is the process of field research, the process (II) describe the survey method, and section (III) described the experiment. In the research field research into environmental research by actually defocus, free of preconceptions and follow the current flowing in the research environment. Observation is the primary information-gathering techniques are performed. In contrast to other studies, data and information obtained in the direct research field is analyzed at the first opportunity, in conjunction with the following information collection. This process continues, with no definite guidelines and tools to more closely follow developments in the field. In fact, focus on specific aspects of the newly made towards the end of the study.

Neuman [3] describes the steps the following research fields:

A. Researchers prepare, read literature and defocus.

2. Find a field of research and get access to it.

3. Go into the field of research, develop social relationships with members of the community.

4. Adoption of a social role in the self, along with members of the community.

5. See, hear, collect qualitative data.

6. Started to analyze data and evaluate hypotheses of work.

7. Focus on specific aspects and using theoretical sampling.

8. Use field interviews with community members and informants.

9. Disconnect and leave the field of physical research.

10. Enhance the analysis and write reports enelitian.

Survey and experimental methods are often applied in research and other civic culture that can be contrasted with field research, as illustrated by Unaradjan. [4] The survey covers a drastic restriction, like looking through binoculars, a place that looks very limited. Thus, what he would have learned already known in advance, or a preconceived notion that there should be no on field research, was instrumental in the survey.

Experiments, a further limitation of the survey, with a very small number of variables and can be controlled. In research relating to architecture, field research is used when the subject of study is still open the possibility that the widest possible exploration, research topic is a new thing that rarely or never terbahas before, so that the whole picture can only be obtained with the approach on real groups to achieve naturalness .

As with other qualitative research, field research examined the issue in a natural setting in an attempt to make sense of, interpret the observed phenomena [5] (Groat & Wang, 2002). For example, a study conducted to reveal the perception of space and space of a particular community of faith sect which is closed, will be an interesting phenomenon in society. Pure survey research will not be able to explain this phenomenon, because "our" way to go yet exist. Such maps that can be obtained through field research.

Based on the above description, according to Groat & Wang (2002), there are four key components related to the field research as part of qualitative research:

• An emphasis on natural settings

Natural setting means that the subjects did not move from where the original incident. Researchers applied a variety of tactics to put ourselves in the context of research. Context need not change for the sake of research.

• Focus on the interpretation and meaning

Researchers not only the underlying research on the empirical reality of observation and interviews are done, but also plays an important role in interpreting and interpret data.

• Focus on how respondents interpret the situation himself

The purpose of the research is to present an overall view of the setting or the study of the phenomenon, according to the understanding of the respondents themselves.

• Use a variety of tactics

As part of the observation of reality that tends to liquid, field research does not have a tendency to rely on a single tactic, but varied as a blend of various tactics on the ground state.

In the research field known term Verstehen, means seeing reality through a view of the subject in the field. Thus the observation is made. However, the analysis involved the researcher as research instrument. Thus, field research into a kind of cultural encounters, culture encounter between the researcher's own culture on the one hand, culture on the other subjects and even the culture of the readers of the research. Beginning point is the moment where there are deviations, or dipersepsikannya deviation between the researcher with the environment, an observation of the culture, events, people and values ​​that are foreign and can not be understood and explained according to the original tradition of the researcher. This is known as the breakdown, the incidence is highly dependent on the research tradition, the tradition and the tradition of the audience involved.

Breakdown is very important and determines whether the field research carried out research that will result in successful or not. Therefore, one important aspect in the field of research is the researcher should have what is by Neuman [6] termed the attitude of strangeness. Researchers should come from the completely different background to the subject of research that has the ability to absorb unfamiliar information from the research environment, as well as being sensitive to the details as small as possible. If the researcher has a cultural background that is relatively similar, the breakdown condition is not created. Researchers to more easily "blinded" by the routine aspects of daily life which he has been ordinary and need not listed as an important information, but in the eyes of researchers are aware it is very valuable information.

According to Neuman [7], field research site selection should be based on three research areas:

A. appropriateness,

2. wealth of information and

3. uniqueness.

Researchers with backgrounds that are too close to the research subjects will still be able to see the merit, but will be more difficult to obtain a rich and unique experience.

Thus, based on the above discussion, the general characteristics of the field research can be stated as follows:

A. Scope of the problem has not been firmly.

2. Variables to be studied are much less understood.

3. The theoretical model is not clear.

4. Operationalization is not done.

5. There is no standardization of data collection techniques.

6. No statistical analysis with standard formulas.

7. Starting from the breakdown.

8. Resolution process through Verstehen.

Active participation of researchers in the field of research requires that researchers:

• live with the communities studied,

• visit and attend events or ceremonies,

• developing and maintaining informal relationships with members of social groups, as well as

• spend some time which is generally long enough for the activities mentioned above.

The fourth point above, the strength of research in the field provides an overview of research subjects. However, it is not uncommon these advantages, particularly the fourth item on its own problematic issue for researchers.

C. Problem in Field Research.

Some of these problems can be seen below.


In the general field research conducted undergraduate anthropology, time allotted for research can be very long. Neuman [8] described in a range between a few weeks to many years. This can be understood as the subject of anthropological research on the environment generally does have the characteristics of evolutionary change. Research conducted on inculturation for example, carried out in a span of decades. Researchers came to live with a community of people for several months to a year, to then write the initial report of his research. Ten years later the researcher returned to the same location and resume his research. From here, dibandingkanlah inculturation which occurred at that time and ten years ago. The process does take place, who is involved, how the channels of inculturation is created and how people react to changes in the ten-year period.


Related to the problem of time is cost. Research in this field require substantial funds. As with other social science research, 80% of the cost of research devoted to the research costs, leaving 20% ​​for others. For policymakers, this often becomes a problem because it is not efficient. With a small fee, new problems arise, by the time it had shorted, the great Universum can not be reached.


Ethics is one of the other issues again. In surveys and experiments, ethics is rarely mentioned, but the ethics of striking an obstacle in the research field, especially when the study was conducted on groups or individuals that are closed or considered deviant by society. To obtain information about space and architecture formed by a ritual or liturgy of the group, researchers would not want to get into the inner circle of the group. Such groups are very closed and mostly inhospitable to outsiders. Thus, to overcome access difficulties are often forced to make an undercover investigator. This is a problem in itself, since the research should be based on fairness, openness. Instead, be honest probably not the right solution anyway because it may severely limit the access of researchers, or even lead to a reactive stance. In fact, field research requires a state as natural as possible, which can only be achieved with non-reactive state of the subject. Erlinda [9] completely conceal the true identity as a researcher, to maintain the fairness of the nature of the research subjects. Identity as a researcher is only revealed to the cleric who was one of the key informants in the research. By keeping the identity secret, researchers believe will be able to photograph the actual circumstances as well as gaining access to a wider audience. Fear of loss of equity in the community aspect ignored by Unaradjan. [10]

According to him, the morbidity of only a few moments at the beginning of the study. After several weeks, accompanied by the receipt of researchers become part of the rhythm of community life will be normal again.

Also ethical issues related to reporting or publication of research results. In many cases, researchers keep the identity of the informant to protect privacy is concerned. Erlinda [11] to change the names of informants and the figures in his research with fictitious names.

Even the location of the research field was simply called initials only. Depiction of the way that seemed to cover up this kind make research publications read while wondering.

Objectivity Researchers

Characteristics of field-effect research is mutual influence between researchers with research subjects, although in theory it can be said of research might be undertaken senon reactive. Along the length of time in the field, the objectivity of the researcher may be accompanied by a loss of attitude strangeness decaying. Researchers to lose their identity as a researcher and turned into "insider". Further suggested by Neuman, the risks include teradopsinya local values ​​in excess by the researchers that it becomes a completely different person, including the conversion. When this happens of course is less favorable. To overcome this, researchers suggest Unaradjan to have some sort of oversight that is outside the study site, with a total perspective of "outsiders". Within a certain time period, researchers met with supervisors to discuss this. With the input of the views of supervisors, the objectivity of the researcher can quickly be corrected or restored in the event of inaccuracies.

Other Problems

Field research in general demands of researchers who in many ways more powerful than other methods of research, both physically and mentally. Intellectually, it takes excellent researchers because some of the difficulties posed by the methods of field research later on his own. For example, the generalizations made in the field of research is much more difficult than other studies. Field research is related to the tradition of the researchers themselves are blasted with a tradition of research subjects. In addition, the events that occur much too coincidental though many were built with the intent. Mentally, field research in the initial phase is very heavy. Not infrequent refusal of the recipient communities. YB Mangunwijaya researchnya in action in the Code through this, the rejection that often do well with a bristling violence. Even if access can be obtained, pengoleksian information and coding is a laborious process, with results that can not be ascertained. Not that rare, after weeks of researching not seen significant progress. In this respect, perseverance, tenacity and patience will really be tested, either on its own self investigators, supervisors and also informants who have back and forth to take the time to research.

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References and Footnote

Erlinda, T., Adaptive Pattern Jama'ah Salafi Living in the city of Bandung. Master's thesis. New York: Master of Architecture, Graduate School of Bandung Institute of Technology, 2002.

Groat, L. & Wang, D., Architectural Research Methods. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 2002.

Koentjaraningrat, Introduction to the Study of Anthropology. New York: Rineka Copyright, 1990.

Neuman, LW, Social Research Methods, Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches. New York: Pearson Education, 2003.

Unaradjan, D., Introduction to Social Science Research Methods. New York: Grasindo, 2000.

[1] Koentjaraningrat, Introduction to the Study of Anthropology (New York: Rineka Notices. 1990), p. 13.

[2] D. Unaradjan, Introduction to Social Science Research Methods (London: Grasindo, 2000), p. 67.

[3] LW Neuman, Social Research Methods, Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches (New York: Pearson Education, 2003), p. 108.

[4] D. Unaradjan, Introduction to Methods

[5] L. Groat & D. Wang, Architectural Research Methods (New York: John Wiley & Sons, 2002), p. 45 ..

[6] Neuman, Social Research Methods

[7] Neuman, Social Research Methods.

[8] Neuman, Social Research Methods

[9] T. Erlinda, Adaptive Pattern Jama'ah Salafi Living in the city of Bandung. Master's thesis (New York: Master of Architecture, Graduate School of Bandung Institute of Technology, 2002), p. 89.

[10] D. Unaradjan, Introduction to Methods, p. 112.

[11] Erlinda, Adaptation Patterns.

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