On practices of writing field notes

I found it hard to find sources that talk about the day to day realities and struggles of keeping regular field notes during ethnographic research and what those field notes actually look like and amount to—the practices of taking field notes, as opposed to an ideal-type (or extremely Type A personality) method for taking them. With this in mind, I’m sharing here some of my practices and struggles with taking field notes. I lean on the book Field Notes by Luis A. Vivanco (2016) for its very useful theorization and concrete discussion of field note taking (and ethnographic methods in general). I greatly appreciate Vivanco’s approach, as written into the title of chapter one, that emphasizes: “anthropology beyond ‘just go do it.'”

Note that I added a post-fieldwork update below! “On taking field notes when, where, and how you can, and what to document” [Added January 9, 2020]

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On (digital) tools for doing ethnographic research

There are a bunch of physical things, smart phone apps, and other software that I’ve found incredibly useful while doing ethnographic research, research in general, and just traveling near or far from home in general as well. Many of these things I learned through experience or trial and error, or found about about because someone recommended them, and so I thought I would share a compilation in case it is useful to others.

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