Fieldwork is a mandatory element in the curriculum of students in the Interpretative and Mixed Methods with Fieldwork specialisation. Fieldwork is in-depth empirical and ethnographic field research and is an integral part of the thesis project.
Students work on fieldwork and the thesis throughout the programme, in several courses. Besides theoretical preparations, there are also practical matters that need to be born in mind. These include arranging a visa, vaccinations (if applicable), tickets, housing and possibly funding. During the course Ethnographic Methods and Fieldwork Preparation you will prepare for your fieldwork, and the study advisor and the international office will inform you about the standing procedures concerning the fieldwork subsidy, the local supervision fee and the research master conference fund. Here you will also receive tips and pointers about how and where you can find and apply for additional financial grants, how and where to get your vaccines or travel visas etc.
It is crucial to start orienting yourself on a possible thesis supervisor already as early as in block three of the first year. This can be done by studying the bibliographies of the different researchers affiliated to the AISSR, by informing with your specialisation tutor or by contacting potential thesis supervisors yourselves. The thesis supervisor is expected to give supervision during the preparations and writing of the research proposal, during the implementation of the fieldwork and during the writing of the final thesis. Supervisors are expected to at least spend between 7 to 10 contact hours on supervising the pre-fieldwork and fieldwork period, in addition to reading drafts and reports from the field, so don’t be shy to approach your supervisor when you need advice.
The theoretical and methodological preparations are formalized in the form of the research proposal and will be written in the Ethnographic Methods and Fieldwork Preparation. During this course, you will be guided in thinking through the research design and the practical side of the research project (e.g. planning and budget). The research proposal should include the following elements:
For a more detailed description of the required elements of the research proposal, see the section on the thesis proposal in the RMSS Thesis Manual.
The research proposal needs to be completed at the end of the Ethnographic Methods and Fieldwork Preparation and needs to be approved by the thesis supervisor and the lecturer of the course. The supervisor will sign the Research Proposal Form. When also the student has signed this form it can be handed in at email@example.com.
Students who will be doing their fieldwork abroad are entitled to the GSSS Fieldwork Subsidy.
In order for you to receive the credits for the fieldwork after returning from the field, you have to write a Fieldwork Report.
The Fieldwork Report can consist of the following elements:
Make sure to discuss these elements with your supervisor; in some cases your supervisor might want to adjust these.
The fieldwork report should be between 5 to 10 pages (excluding appendices). After completion of the fieldwork and approval of the report, the student will receive a completed (an A.V.V. = aan voorwaarden voldaan) and not a grade.
The Fieldwork Report will be written in block three of year two, and needs to be approved by the thesis supervisor. To this purpose the thesis supervisor fills out the grade sheet for the fieldwork, not with a grade, but with a stamp of completion (an A.V.V. = aan voorwaarden voldaan). The grade sheet needs to be signed by the thesis supervisor and sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The programme culminates in the writing of a thesis (24 EC). It is the final process for the completion of your Master’s degree and the ultimate test of your academic skills. The goal of the thesis is to prove that you have acquired sufficient academic knowledge, skills and insights to set up, write up, empirically investigate and substantiate a clear, systematic argument. Indeed, the thesis is the capstone of the research profile you have been developing during the two years of the programme and should show your ability to conduct research independently. The programme requires you to write the thesis in the form of an academic article or monograph, to be submitted for publication to a peer-reviewed academic journal.
For a detailed description of the thesis objectives, the thesis process and a general overview of how to write a thesis, see the RMSS Thesis Manual.