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Books About Fieldwork

The Folklore Wiki > Publications and Communications > Notable Books: Books About Fieldwork

"Fieldwork" is the name folklorists give to their activity of working with other people to learn about those people’s folk traditions and cultural heritage. As part of fieldwork, folklorists interview people and document (through writing, photography, audio recording, video, and film) many of their activities (for example, their storytelling, celebrations, foodways, work, music, dance, or art). Through fieldwork, folklorists also build personal relationships with those they study, who in many ways are folklorists’ partners is understanding culture. These books by folklorists introduce many of the best practices, both practical and interpersonal, of doing good fieldwork.

Briggs, Charles L. Learning How to Ask. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986.

Georges, Robert A., and Michael Owen Jones. People Studying People: The Human Element in Fieldwork. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1980.

Goldstein, Kenneth S. A Guide for Field Workers in Folklore. Hatboro, Pennsylvania: Folklore Associates, Inc., 1974.

Jackson, Bruce. Fieldwork. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1987.

Ives, Edward D. The Tape-Recorded Interview: A Manual for Fieldworkers in Folklore and Oral History. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1974.

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