Fieldwork

Updated: Jul 17, 2018



Fieldwork


Fieldwork is a word that brings to mind many associations. In this project, fieldwork describes the time frame during which we are learning about prepping in the UK.


There are two strands to the fieldwork for this project. The first is a period of learning about prepping from existing books, articles and hand-books, as well as through online blogs and publications. The second involves using a survey and conducting interviews, to develop new insights into prepping culture in the UK. People must ‘opt-in’ to this research in order to take part or be included.


Part One – Learning and Understanding


The first part of the research involves reading books, academic materials, newspaper articles, and watching films, TV shows and documentaries through which prepping has already been analysed. It also involves learning about prepping through existing print and online resources, such as handbooks, novels, YouTube videos, online blogs, and any other materials written by preppers, and publicly shared.


This background reading and learning is an important part of conducting academic research. It is done to understand what has already been said about prepping, so we don't repeat this research. We are therefore starting the project by ‘catching up’ with the broad amount of material about prepping already publicly available .


Whilst reading this existing material, we are trying to learn and understand things like what the media is missing in their coverage of prepping and people who prep for the future. We are also keen to learn what other researchers have not paid attention to - and the biases in their work.


We are focusing on prepping in the UK in this project, exploring prepping as a meaningful and important part of contemporary British culture. As we learn what has already been shared on this topic, we are paying attention to a number of things, including the terms people who prep use to talk about prepping; the themes that come up, as people discuss prepping; the concerns and advice people who prep share with each other in hand-books, how-to guides and in public blogs.


As part of this learning phase, we are also looking at what people are sharing in online forums which are open to the public. However, we are not writing in these forums or joining them under false names. If we write in them, we will introduce ourselves and clearly state that we are there as researchers. We are also not joining or writing in these forums without first introducing ourselves as researchers to the moderators, and seeking their permission to join.


Part Two: Our research


Following from this period of learning, we will then start collecting our own information. We will do this by publishing a survey about prepping, in open and moderated prepping forums and blogs. We will only post these surveys once we have contacted the site moderators for their permission to post this survey on their sites. Once this permission is granted, the survey will be uploaded. We will let people know that we are researchers, and introduce the project, as we post a link to the survey. People on these forums and blogs can then choose to whether or not to open this link. The research is therefore ‘opt-in’ only and there is no need to ‘opt-out’.


We are using the survey to ask general questions about why people become interested in prepping in the UK, and how people in the UK think about prepping. It gives us an opportunity to hear about this in people’s own words.


The second stage of the research also involves conducting interviews. Following the survey, people will be asked if they are happy to be take part in an interview. Again, the interview is 'opt-in' only, and you will be asked to email us directly to 'opt-in'.


The interviews will be conducted in person, or over the phone, using Skype, Whatsapp, Facetime, etc. The interviews, like the survey answers, will also be used to build general trends about prepping in the UK. Answers will never be linked to personal details.


Overall, the aim of this study is to develop a better academic understanding of what prepping in the UK. Please see the project page for more details, and to see our FAQs.


If you are interested in taking part, but you have not seen the survey online, there are other ways to 'opt-in' to this research. You can answer the survey through this website by following the link at the top to the ‘take part’ page. You will be able to enter you contact details at the end of the survey, if you wish to be interviewed. Alternatively, if you are keen to be interviewed and to share your thoughts anonymously but not to complete the survey, you can contact us through our 'contact page' above.


Please feel free to comment after reading this post. As this is a research website, please note that any comments made may be included in the research. Do not share your name or any identifying details. Your anonymity will be protected in any research publications.

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Funding Partners

The Wellcome Trust, through Birkbeck ISSF fund