An opportunity to spend time “in the field”!

Doing fieldwork can be an opportunity to collect data for your thesis! Students from all four Graduate School programmes, Development Studies, Global Studies, Middle Eastern Studies and Social Studies of Gender, can take the fieldwork course. You can do fieldwork in Sweden or anywhere, except where the Foreign Office recommends abstaining from travelling.


Why do Fieldwork?

The Fieldwork course gives students an opportunity to spend eight to ten weeks “in the field” and gather data locally, nationally, or internationally (e.g. inside an organisation, within a community, or in a foreign country) in order to answer a research question of interest.

The choice of the field is relevant for and guided by the programme of studies (i.e., Global Studies, Development Studies, Middle Eastern Studies or Social Studies of Gender). During the course, the student is “immersed” in the field, continuously engaging in research activities related to the chosen research topic and question(s).

The primary objective of the course is to give an opportunity for the student to collect primary and/or secondary data for a research project, which cannot be otherwise accessed by doing desk research. It is therefore an experiential course, where the student does not acquire knowledge through lectures and seminars, but uses the knowledge acquired in previous courses in the “real” world, and gains new knowledge through this practical experience. The processes of data collection can include:

  • Participation observation
  • Semi-structured interviews
  • Structured interview (e.g. survey)
  • Focus-groups
  • Work in archives
  • Access to publicly unavailable material
  • Multi-sited data collection, etc.

Step-by-step Guide to the fieldwork course

Finding fieldwork

Fieldwork can take place locally (e.g., Lund or Malmö), nationally (e.g., Kiruna), or internationally (e.g., anywhere, except where the Foreign Office recommends abstaining from travelling due to e.g., political or health concerns). Data collection can take place at a public or private organisation (e.g., a national or local archive, an academic department, a research centre or institute, a think-tank, an editorial office, school, a social incubator or start-up, hospital, a shelter, a camp, an asylum reception centre, an NGO, an embassy, a company, a business, a foundation, etc.) and/or in a particular community or several communities simultaneously (e.g., among indigenous people, refugees, aid workers, diplomats, business people, teachers, doctors or nurses, public officials, etc.) in Sweden or abroad.

The idea to do fieldwork comes from students’ own research interests and is developed and organized by students independently. Some students might have already had a field experience by taking courses on fieldwork (e.g., SIMM25 at Graduate School). Others might know someone from their programme of studies who did fieldwork and can give a good piece of advice. The first step is to ask people around students’ programme of studies. As doing fieldwork is a costly experience – and students must secure funding themselves – there are a few places to start searching for a financial support: (1) The MFS scheme known as Minor Field Studies and open to the Swedish nationals or permanent residents in Sweden; (2) The Crafoord scheme known as Crafoord Foundation Travel Grant and open to everybody regardless their nationality or residence status in Sweden. Students are advised to check application deadlines and eligibility requirements, as they might vary from funder to funder.

Make sure your fieldwork adhere to the timeframe for the given course period

For Autumn 2020 the following timeframe applies:

The fieldwork must be at least 8 weeks long (30-40 hours of work per week) and can only start as early as August 17, 2020 and last as long as October 28, 2020. The fieldwork must start by September 7, 2020 at the latest.

Fill out the Fieldwork Agreement Form

Once you have decided on a fieldwork project you need to have your planned fieldwork approved by Graduate School. The agreement form can be downloaded here and should be filled out carefully and signed. Once you have signed the agreement form, you submit it to Graduate School. You can leave the form in the student reception desk or bring it to the academic advisor during visiting hours. If you are not in Lund, a scanned copy of the agreement will work. The scanned copy must be of high quality.

The academic advisor will discuss the fieldwork agreement with the Director of Studies. The Director of Studies will approve the fieldwork or reject it due to incomplete description or other issues. You will receive confirmation by email. The agreement form is to be archived at the university but you will receive a scanned copy.

Finally, check the details for your destination

If you are doing your fieldwork abroad, it is your responsibility to check all details regarding travelling, VISA, accommodation, vaccinations etc. Remember to check the validity of your passport and make sure to bring the MIC-card (medical insurance card) provided by the Graduate School academic advisor. You will be required to post course assignments on Live@Lund, which means you will need an internet connection.

Fieldwork Coordinator


Ekatherina Zhukova
Lecturer, Department of Political Science

Personal homepage

About the course

Course period: 
2020-08-31 to 2020-11-01

Course syllabus

Course literature

Course guide

For students doing their fieldwork in Autumn term 2020:

26 May: Introductory Lecture
8 June: Fieldwork project plan draft submission
15 June: Fieldwork project plan final submission
19 July: Deadline to submit fieldwork agreement form
31 August: Course starts, the student embarks on “the field”