Organizing Your Social Sciences Research Assignments

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  • Writing a Case Analysis Paper
  • Writing a Case Study
  • About Informed Consent
  • Writing Field Notes
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  • Writing a Reflective Paper
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  • Acknowledgments

Refers to notes created by the researcher during the act of conducting a field study to remember and record the behaviors, activities, events, and other features of an observation. Field notes are intended to be read by the researcher as evidence to produce meaning and an understanding of the culture, social situation, or phenomenon being studied. The notes may constitute the whole data collected for a research study [e.g., an observational project] or contribute to it, such as when field notes supplement conventional interview data or other techniques of data gathering.

Schwandt, Thomas A. The SAGE Dictionary of Qualitative Inquiry . 4th edition. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE, 2015.

How to Approach Writing Field Notes

The ways in which you take notes during an observational study is very much a personal decision developed over time as you become more experienced in fieldwork. However, all field notes generally consist of two parts:

  • Descriptive information , in which you attempt to accurately document factual data [e.g., date and time] along with the settings, actions, behaviors, and conversations that you observe; and,
  • Reflective information , in which you record your thoughts, ideas, questions, and concerns during the observation.

Note that field notes should be fleshed out as soon as possible after an observation is completed. Your initial notes may be recorded in cryptic form and, unless additional detail is added as soon as possible after the observation, important facts and opportunities for fully interpreting the data may be lost.

Characteristics of Field Notes

  • Be accurate . You only get one chance to observe a particular moment in time so, before you conduct your observations, practice taking notes in a setting that is similar to your observation site in regards to number of people, the environment, and social dynamics. This will help you develop your own style of transcribing observations quickly and accurately.
  • Be organized . Taking accurate notes while you are actively observing can be difficult. Therefore, it is important that you plan ahead how you will document your observation study [e.g., strictly chronologically or according to specific prompts]. Notes that are disorganized will make it more difficult for you to interpret the data.
  • Be descriptive . Use descriptive words to document what you observe. For example, instead of noting that a classroom appears "comfortable," state that the classroom includes soft lighting and cushioned chairs that can be moved around by the students. Being descriptive means supplying yourself with enough factual evidence that you don't end up making assumptions about what you meant when you write the final report.
  • Focus on the research problem . Since it's impossible to document everything you observe, focus on collecting the greatest detail that relates to the research problem and the theoretical constructs underpinning your research; avoid cluttering your notes with irrelevant information. For example, if the purpose of your study is to observe the discursive interactions between nursing home staff and the family members of residents, then it would only be necessary to document the setting in detail if it in some way directly influenced those interactions [e.g., there is a private room available for discussions between staff and family members].
  • Record insights and thoughts . As you take notes, be thinking about the underlying meaning of what you observe and record your thoughts and ideas accordingly. If needed, this will help you to ask questions or seek clarification from participants after the observation. To avoid any confusion, subsequent comments from participants should be included in a separate, reflective part of your field notes and not merged with the descriptive notes.

General Guidelines for the Descriptive Content

The descriptive content of your notes can vary in detail depending upon what needs to be emphasized in order to address the research problem. However, in most observations, your notes should include at least some of the following elements:

  • Describe the physical setting.
  • Describe the social environment and the way in which participants interacted within the setting. This may include patterns of interactions, frequency of interactions, direction of communication patterns [including non-verbal communication], and patterns of specific behavioral events, such as, conflicts, decision-making, or collaboration.
  • Describe the participants and their roles in the setting.
  • Describe, as best you can, the meaning of what was observed from the perspectives of the participants.
  • Record exact quotes or close approximations of comments that relate directly to the purpose of the study.
  • Describe any impact you might have had on the situation you observed [important!].

General Guidelines for the Reflective Content

You are the instrument of data gathering and interpretation. Therefore, reflective content can include any of the following elements intended to contextualize what you have observed based on your perspective and your own personal, cultural, and situational experiences .

  • Note ideas, impressions, thoughts, and/or any criticisms you have about what you observed.
  • Include any unanswered questions or concerns that have arisen from analyzing the observation data.
  • Clarify points and/or correct mistakes and misunderstandings in other parts of field notes.
  • Include insights about what you have observed and speculate as to why you believe specific phenomenon occurred.
  • Record any thoughts that you may have regarding any future observations.

NOTE:   Analysis of your field notes should occur as they are being written and while you are conducting your observations. This is important for at least two reasons. First, preliminary analysis fosters self-reflection and self-reflection is crucial for facilitating deep understanding and meaning-making in any research study. Second, preliminary analysis reveals emergent themes. Identifying emergent themes while observing allows you to shift your attention in ways that can foster a more developed investigation.

Emerson, Robert M. et al. Writing Ethnographic Fieldnotes . 2nd ed. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2011; Ethnography, Observational Research, and Narrative Inquiry. Writing@CSU. Colorado State University; Gambold, Liesl L. “Field Notes.” In Encyclopedia of Case Study Research . Edited by Albert J. Mills, Gabrielle Durepos, and Elden Wiebe. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE, 2010; Pace, Tonio. Writing Field Reports. Scribd Online Library; Pyrczak, Fred and Randall R. Bruce. Writing Empirical Research Reports: A Basic Guide for Students of the Social and Behavioral Sciences . 5th ed. Glendale, CA: Pyrczak Publishing, 2005; Report Writing. UniLearning. University of Wollongong, Australia; Ravitch,  Sharon M. “Field Notes.” In The SAGE Encyclopedia of Educational Research, Measurement, and Evaluation . Edited by Bruce B. Frey. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE, 2018; Tenzek, Kelly E. “Field Notes.” In The SAGE Encyclopedia of Communication Research Methods . Edited by Mike Allen. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE, 2017; Wolfinger, Nicholas H. "On Writing Fieldnotes: Collection Strategies and Background Expectancies.” Qualitative Research 2 (April 2002): 85-95; Writing Reports. Anonymous. The Higher Education Academy.

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A guide to field studies

Last updated

18 April 2023

Reviewed by

Cathy Heath

Field studies allow researchers to observe and collect data in real-world settings. Unlike laboratory-based or traditional research methods, field studies enable researchers to investigate complex phenomena within their environment, providing a deeper understanding of the research context.

Researchers can use field studies to investigate a wide range of subjects, from the behavior of animals to the practices of businesses or the experiences of individuals in a particular setting.

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  • What is a field study?

A field study is a research method that involves conducting observations and collecting data in a natural setting. This method includes observing, interviewing, and interacting with participants in their environment, such as a workplace, community, or natural habitat.

Field studies can take many forms, from ethnographic studies involving extended periods of observation and using an anthropological lens to shorter-term studies focusing on specific behaviors or events. Regardless of its form, a successful field study requires careful planning, preparation, and execution to ensure the data collected is valid and reliable.

  • How to plan a field study

Planning a field study is a critical first step in ensuring successful research. Here are some steps to follow when preparing your field study:

1. Define your research question

When developing a good research question , you should make it clear, concise, and specific. It should also be open-ended, allowing for various possible answers rather than a simple yes or no response. Your research question should also be relevant to the broader field of study and contribute new knowledge to the existing literature.

Once you have a defined research question, identify the key variables you need to study and the data you need to collect. It might involve developing a hypothesis or research framework outlining the relationships between different variables and how you’ll measure them in your study.

2. Identify your research site

A research site is a location where you’ll conduct your study and collect data. Here are the types of research sites to consider when planning a field study:

Natural habitats: For environmental or ecological research, you may need to conduct your study in a natural habitat, such as a forest, wetland, or coral reef.

Communities : If your research relates to social or cultural factors, you may need to study a particular community, such as a neighborhood, village, or city.

Organizations : For questions relating to organizational behavior or management, your location will be in a business environment, like a nonprofit or government agency.

Events : If your research question relates to a particular event, you may need to conduct your study at that event, such as, at a protest, festival, or natural disaster.

Ensure your research site represents the population you're studying. For example, if you're exploring cultural beliefs, ensure the community represents the larger population and you have access to a diverse group of participants.

3. Determine your data collection methods

Choosing a suitable method will depend on the research question, the type of data needed, and the characteristics of the participants. Here are some commonly used data collection methods in field studies:

Interviews : You can collect data on people's experiences, perspectives, and attitudes. In some instances, you can use phone or online interviews.

Observations : This method involves watching and recording behaviors and interactions in a specific setting. 

Surveys : By using a survey , you can easily standardize and tailor the questions to provide answers for your research. Respondents can complete the survey in person, by mail, or online.

Document analysis : Organizational reports, letters, diaries, public records, policies, or social media posts can be analyzed to gain context. 

When selecting data collection methods, consider factors such as the availability of participants, the ethical considerations involved, and the resources needed to carry out each method. For example, conducting interviews may require more time and resources than administering a survey.

4. Obtain necessary permissions

Depending on the research location and the nature of the study, you may require permission from local authorities, organizations, or individuals before conducting your research. 

This process is vital when working with human or animal subjects and conducting research in sensitive or protected environments.

Here are some steps you can take to obtain the necessary permissions:

Identify the relevant authorities , including local governments, regulatory bodies, research institutions, or private organizations, to obtain permission for your research.

Reach out to the relevant authorities to explain the nature of your study. Be ready to hand out detailed information about your research. 

If you're conducting research with human participants, you must have their consent . You'll also need to ensure the participants have the right to withdraw from the study at any time.

Obtain necessary permits from regulatory bodies or local authorities. For example, if you're conducting research in a protected area, you may need a research permit from the relevant government agency.

The process of obtaining permissions can be time-consuming, and failure to obtain the necessary permits can lead to legal and ethical issues.

  • Examples of field research

Researchers can apply field research to a wide range of disciplines and phenomena. Here are some examples of field research in different fields:

Anthropology : Anthropologists use field research methods to study different communities' social and cultural practices. For instance, an anthropologist might conduct participant observation in a remote community to understand their customs, beliefs, and practices.

Ecology : Ecologists use field research methods to learn the behavior of organisms and their interactions with the environment. For example, an ecologist might conduct field research on the behavior of birds in their natural habitat to understand their feeding habits, nesting patterns, and migration.

Sociology : Sociologists may use field research methods to study social behavior and interactions. For instance, a sociologist might conduct participant observation in a workplace to understand organizational culture and communication dynamics.

Geography : Geographers use field research methods to study different regions’ physical and human contexts. For example, a geographer might conduct field research on the impact of climate change on a particular ecosystem, such as a forest or wetland.

Psychology : Psychologists use field research methods to study human behavior in natural settings. For instance, a psychologist might conduct field research on the effects of stress on students in a school setting.

Education : Researchers studying education may use field research methods to study teaching and learning in real-world settings. For example, you could use field research to test the effectiveness of a new teaching method in a classroom setting.

By using field research methods, researchers can gain a deeper understanding of the complexities of the natural world, human behavior, and social interaction theory and how they affect each other.

  • Advantages of field research

Field research has several advantages over other research methods, including:

Authenticity : Field research conducted in natural settings allows researchers to observe and study real-life phenomena as it happens. This authenticity enhances the validity and accuracy of the data collected.

Flexibility : Field research methods are flexible and adaptable to different research contexts. Researchers can adjust their strategies to meet the specific needs of their research questions and participants and uncover new insights as the research unfolds.

Rich data : Field research provides rich and detailed data, often including contextual information that’s difficult to capture through other research methods. This depth of knowledge allows for a more comprehensive and nuanced understanding of the research topic.

Novel insights : Field research can lead to discoveries that may not be possible with other research methods. Observing and studying phenomena in natural settings can provide unique perspectives and new understandings of complex issues.

Field research methods can enhance the quality and validity of research findings and lead to new insights and discoveries that may not be possible with other research methods.

  • Disadvantages of field research

While field research has several advantages, there are also some disadvantages that researchers need to consider, including:

Time-consuming : Researchers need to spend time in the field, possibly weeks or months, which can be challenging, especially if the research site is remote or requires travel.

Cost : Conducting field research can be costly, especially if the research site is remote or requires specialized equipment or materials.

Reliance on participants : It may be challenging to recruit participants, and various factors, such as personal circumstances, attitudes, and beliefs, may influence their participation.

Ethical considerations : Field research may raise ethical concerns, mainly if the research involves vulnerable populations or sensitive topics. 

Causality: Researchers may have little control over the environmental or contextual variables they are studying. This can make it difficult to establish causality and then generalize their results with previous research. 

Researchers must carefully weigh the advantages and disadvantages of field research and select the most appropriate research method based on their research question, participants, and context.

What is another name for field study?

Field study is also known as field research or fieldwork. These terms are often used interchangeably and refer to research methods that involve observing and collecting data in natural settings.

What is the difference between a field study and a case study?

Why is field study important.

Field study is critical because it allows researchers to study real-world phenomena in natural settings. This study can also lead to novel insights that may not be possible with other research methods.

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Fields (C# Programming Guide)

  • 17 contributors

A field is a variable of any type that is declared directly in a class or struct . Fields are members of their containing type.

A class or struct may have instance fields, static fields, or both. Instance fields are specific to an instance of a type. If you have a class T , with an instance field F , you can create two objects of type T , and modify the value of F in each object without affecting the value in the other object. By contrast, a static field belongs to the type itself, and is shared among all instances of that type. You can access the static field only by using the type name. If you access the static field by an instance name, you get CS0176 compile-time error.

Generally, you should declare private or protected accessibility for fields. Data that your type exposes to client code should be provided through methods , properties , and indexers . By using these constructs for indirect access to internal fields, you can guard against invalid input values. A private field that stores the data exposed by a public property is called a backing store or backing field . You can declare public fields, but then you can't prevent code that uses your type from setting that field to an invalid value or otherwise changing an object's data.

Fields typically store the data that must be accessible to more than one type method and must be stored for longer than the lifetime of any single method. For example, a type that represents a calendar date might have three integer fields: one for the month, one for the day, and one for the year. Variables that aren't used outside the scope of a single method should be declared as local variables within the method body itself.

Fields are declared in the class or struct block by specifying the access level, followed by the type, followed by the name of the field. For example:

To access a field in an instance, add a period after the instance name, followed by the name of the field, as in instancename._fieldName . For example:

A field can be given an initial value by using the assignment operator when the field is declared. To automatically assign the Day field to "Monday" , for example, you would declare Day as in the following example:

Fields are initialized immediately before the constructor for the object instance is called. If the constructor assigns the value of a field, it overwrites any value given during field declaration. For more information, see Using Constructors .

A field initializer cannot refer to other instance fields.

Fields can be marked as public , private , protected , internal , protected internal , or private protected . These access modifiers define how users of the type can access the fields. For more information, see Access Modifiers .

A field can optionally be declared static . Static fields are available to callers at any time, even if no instance of the type exists. For more information, see Static Classes and Static Class Members .

A field can be declared readonly . A read-only field can only be assigned a value during initialization or in a constructor. A static readonly field is similar to a constant, except that the C# compiler doesn't have access to the value of a static read-only field at compile time, only at run time. For more information, see Constants .

A field can be declared required . A required field must be initialized by the constructor, or by an object initializers when an object is created. You add the System.Diagnostics.CodeAnalysis.SetsRequiredMembersAttribute attribute to any constructor declaration that initializes all required members.

The required modifier can't be combined with the readonly modifier on the same field. However, property can be required and init only.

Beginning with C# 12, Primary constructor parameters are an alternative to declaring fields. When your type has dependencies that must be provided at initialization, you can create a primary constructor that provides those dependencies. These parameters may be captured and used in place of declared fields in your types. In the case of record types, primary constructor parameters are surfaced as public properties.

C# language specification

For more information, see the C# Language Specification . The language specification is the definitive source for C# syntax and usage.

  • C# Programming Guide
  • The C# type system
  • Using Constructors
  • Inheritance
  • Access Modifiers
  • Abstract and Sealed Classes and Class Members

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Additional resources

The Writing Center • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Understanding Assignments

What this handout is about.

The first step in any successful college writing venture is reading the assignment. While this sounds like a simple task, it can be a tough one. This handout will help you unravel your assignment and begin to craft an effective response. Much of the following advice will involve translating typical assignment terms and practices into meaningful clues to the type of writing your instructor expects. See our short video for more tips.

Basic beginnings

Regardless of the assignment, department, or instructor, adopting these two habits will serve you well :

  • Read the assignment carefully as soon as you receive it. Do not put this task off—reading the assignment at the beginning will save you time, stress, and problems later. An assignment can look pretty straightforward at first, particularly if the instructor has provided lots of information. That does not mean it will not take time and effort to complete; you may even have to learn a new skill to complete the assignment.
  • Ask the instructor about anything you do not understand. Do not hesitate to approach your instructor. Instructors would prefer to set you straight before you hand the paper in. That’s also when you will find their feedback most useful.

Assignment formats

Many assignments follow a basic format. Assignments often begin with an overview of the topic, include a central verb or verbs that describe the task, and offer some additional suggestions, questions, or prompts to get you started.

An Overview of Some Kind

The instructor might set the stage with some general discussion of the subject of the assignment, introduce the topic, or remind you of something pertinent that you have discussed in class. For example:

“Throughout history, gerbils have played a key role in politics,” or “In the last few weeks of class, we have focused on the evening wear of the housefly …”

The Task of the Assignment

Pay attention; this part tells you what to do when you write the paper. Look for the key verb or verbs in the sentence. Words like analyze, summarize, or compare direct you to think about your topic in a certain way. Also pay attention to words such as how, what, when, where, and why; these words guide your attention toward specific information. (See the section in this handout titled “Key Terms” for more information.)

“Analyze the effect that gerbils had on the Russian Revolution”, or “Suggest an interpretation of housefly undergarments that differs from Darwin’s.”

Additional Material to Think about

Here you will find some questions to use as springboards as you begin to think about the topic. Instructors usually include these questions as suggestions rather than requirements. Do not feel compelled to answer every question unless the instructor asks you to do so. Pay attention to the order of the questions. Sometimes they suggest the thinking process your instructor imagines you will need to follow to begin thinking about the topic.

“You may wish to consider the differing views held by Communist gerbils vs. Monarchist gerbils, or Can there be such a thing as ‘the housefly garment industry’ or is it just a home-based craft?”

These are the instructor’s comments about writing expectations:

“Be concise”, “Write effectively”, or “Argue furiously.”

Technical Details

These instructions usually indicate format rules or guidelines.

“Your paper must be typed in Palatino font on gray paper and must not exceed 600 pages. It is due on the anniversary of Mao Tse-tung’s death.”

The assignment’s parts may not appear in exactly this order, and each part may be very long or really short. Nonetheless, being aware of this standard pattern can help you understand what your instructor wants you to do.

Interpreting the assignment

Ask yourself a few basic questions as you read and jot down the answers on the assignment sheet:

Why did your instructor ask you to do this particular task?

Who is your audience.

  • What kind of evidence do you need to support your ideas?

What kind of writing style is acceptable?

  • What are the absolute rules of the paper?

Try to look at the question from the point of view of the instructor. Recognize that your instructor has a reason for giving you this assignment and for giving it to you at a particular point in the semester. In every assignment, the instructor has a challenge for you. This challenge could be anything from demonstrating an ability to think clearly to demonstrating an ability to use the library. See the assignment not as a vague suggestion of what to do but as an opportunity to show that you can handle the course material as directed. Paper assignments give you more than a topic to discuss—they ask you to do something with the topic. Keep reminding yourself of that. Be careful to avoid the other extreme as well: do not read more into the assignment than what is there.

Of course, your instructor has given you an assignment so that he or she will be able to assess your understanding of the course material and give you an appropriate grade. But there is more to it than that. Your instructor has tried to design a learning experience of some kind. Your instructor wants you to think about something in a particular way for a particular reason. If you read the course description at the beginning of your syllabus, review the assigned readings, and consider the assignment itself, you may begin to see the plan, purpose, or approach to the subject matter that your instructor has created for you. If you still aren’t sure of the assignment’s goals, try asking the instructor. For help with this, see our handout on getting feedback .

Given your instructor’s efforts, it helps to answer the question: What is my purpose in completing this assignment? Is it to gather research from a variety of outside sources and present a coherent picture? Is it to take material I have been learning in class and apply it to a new situation? Is it to prove a point one way or another? Key words from the assignment can help you figure this out. Look for key terms in the form of active verbs that tell you what to do.

Key Terms: Finding Those Active Verbs

Here are some common key words and definitions to help you think about assignment terms:

Information words Ask you to demonstrate what you know about the subject, such as who, what, when, where, how, and why.

  • define —give the subject’s meaning (according to someone or something). Sometimes you have to give more than one view on the subject’s meaning
  • describe —provide details about the subject by answering question words (such as who, what, when, where, how, and why); you might also give details related to the five senses (what you see, hear, feel, taste, and smell)
  • explain —give reasons why or examples of how something happened
  • illustrate —give descriptive examples of the subject and show how each is connected with the subject
  • summarize —briefly list the important ideas you learned about the subject
  • trace —outline how something has changed or developed from an earlier time to its current form
  • research —gather material from outside sources about the subject, often with the implication or requirement that you will analyze what you have found

Relation words Ask you to demonstrate how things are connected.

  • compare —show how two or more things are similar (and, sometimes, different)
  • contrast —show how two or more things are dissimilar
  • apply—use details that you’ve been given to demonstrate how an idea, theory, or concept works in a particular situation
  • cause —show how one event or series of events made something else happen
  • relate —show or describe the connections between things

Interpretation words Ask you to defend ideas of your own about the subject. Do not see these words as requesting opinion alone (unless the assignment specifically says so), but as requiring opinion that is supported by concrete evidence. Remember examples, principles, definitions, or concepts from class or research and use them in your interpretation.

  • assess —summarize your opinion of the subject and measure it against something
  • prove, justify —give reasons or examples to demonstrate how or why something is the truth
  • evaluate, respond —state your opinion of the subject as good, bad, or some combination of the two, with examples and reasons
  • support —give reasons or evidence for something you believe (be sure to state clearly what it is that you believe)
  • synthesize —put two or more things together that have not been put together in class or in your readings before; do not just summarize one and then the other and say that they are similar or different—you must provide a reason for putting them together that runs all the way through the paper
  • analyze —determine how individual parts create or relate to the whole, figure out how something works, what it might mean, or why it is important
  • argue —take a side and defend it with evidence against the other side

More Clues to Your Purpose As you read the assignment, think about what the teacher does in class:

  • What kinds of textbooks or coursepack did your instructor choose for the course—ones that provide background information, explain theories or perspectives, or argue a point of view?
  • In lecture, does your instructor ask your opinion, try to prove her point of view, or use keywords that show up again in the assignment?
  • What kinds of assignments are typical in this discipline? Social science classes often expect more research. Humanities classes thrive on interpretation and analysis.
  • How do the assignments, readings, and lectures work together in the course? Instructors spend time designing courses, sometimes even arguing with their peers about the most effective course materials. Figuring out the overall design to the course will help you understand what each assignment is meant to achieve.

Now, what about your reader? Most undergraduates think of their audience as the instructor. True, your instructor is a good person to keep in mind as you write. But for the purposes of a good paper, think of your audience as someone like your roommate: smart enough to understand a clear, logical argument, but not someone who already knows exactly what is going on in your particular paper. Remember, even if the instructor knows everything there is to know about your paper topic, he or she still has to read your paper and assess your understanding. In other words, teach the material to your reader.

Aiming a paper at your audience happens in two ways: you make decisions about the tone and the level of information you want to convey.

  • Tone means the “voice” of your paper. Should you be chatty, formal, or objective? Usually you will find some happy medium—you do not want to alienate your reader by sounding condescending or superior, but you do not want to, um, like, totally wig on the man, you know? Eschew ostentatious erudition: some students think the way to sound academic is to use big words. Be careful—you can sound ridiculous, especially if you use the wrong big words.
  • The level of information you use depends on who you think your audience is. If you imagine your audience as your instructor and she already knows everything you have to say, you may find yourself leaving out key information that can cause your argument to be unconvincing and illogical. But you do not have to explain every single word or issue. If you are telling your roommate what happened on your favorite science fiction TV show last night, you do not say, “First a dark-haired white man of average height, wearing a suit and carrying a flashlight, walked into the room. Then a purple alien with fifteen arms and at least three eyes turned around. Then the man smiled slightly. In the background, you could hear a clock ticking. The room was fairly dark and had at least two windows that I saw.” You also do not say, “This guy found some aliens. The end.” Find some balance of useful details that support your main point.

You’ll find a much more detailed discussion of these concepts in our handout on audience .

The Grim Truth

With a few exceptions (including some lab and ethnography reports), you are probably being asked to make an argument. You must convince your audience. It is easy to forget this aim when you are researching and writing; as you become involved in your subject matter, you may become enmeshed in the details and focus on learning or simply telling the information you have found. You need to do more than just repeat what you have read. Your writing should have a point, and you should be able to say it in a sentence. Sometimes instructors call this sentence a “thesis” or a “claim.”

So, if your instructor tells you to write about some aspect of oral hygiene, you do not want to just list: “First, you brush your teeth with a soft brush and some peanut butter. Then, you floss with unwaxed, bologna-flavored string. Finally, gargle with bourbon.” Instead, you could say, “Of all the oral cleaning methods, sandblasting removes the most plaque. Therefore it should be recommended by the American Dental Association.” Or, “From an aesthetic perspective, moldy teeth can be quite charming. However, their joys are short-lived.”

Convincing the reader of your argument is the goal of academic writing. It doesn’t have to say “argument” anywhere in the assignment for you to need one. Look at the assignment and think about what kind of argument you could make about it instead of just seeing it as a checklist of information you have to present. For help with understanding the role of argument in academic writing, see our handout on argument .

What kind of evidence do you need?

There are many kinds of evidence, and what type of evidence will work for your assignment can depend on several factors–the discipline, the parameters of the assignment, and your instructor’s preference. Should you use statistics? Historical examples? Do you need to conduct your own experiment? Can you rely on personal experience? See our handout on evidence for suggestions on how to use evidence appropriately.

Make sure you are clear about this part of the assignment, because your use of evidence will be crucial in writing a successful paper. You are not just learning how to argue; you are learning how to argue with specific types of materials and ideas. Ask your instructor what counts as acceptable evidence. You can also ask a librarian for help. No matter what kind of evidence you use, be sure to cite it correctly—see the UNC Libraries citation tutorial .

You cannot always tell from the assignment just what sort of writing style your instructor expects. The instructor may be really laid back in class but still expect you to sound formal in writing. Or the instructor may be fairly formal in class and ask you to write a reflection paper where you need to use “I” and speak from your own experience.

Try to avoid false associations of a particular field with a style (“art historians like wacky creativity,” or “political scientists are boring and just give facts”) and look instead to the types of readings you have been given in class. No one expects you to write like Plato—just use the readings as a guide for what is standard or preferable to your instructor. When in doubt, ask your instructor about the level of formality she or he expects.

No matter what field you are writing for or what facts you are including, if you do not write so that your reader can understand your main idea, you have wasted your time. So make clarity your main goal. For specific help with style, see our handout on style .

Technical details about the assignment

The technical information you are given in an assignment always seems like the easy part. This section can actually give you lots of little hints about approaching the task. Find out if elements such as page length and citation format (see the UNC Libraries citation tutorial ) are negotiable. Some professors do not have strong preferences as long as you are consistent and fully answer the assignment. Some professors are very specific and will deduct big points for deviations.

Usually, the page length tells you something important: The instructor thinks the size of the paper is appropriate to the assignment’s parameters. In plain English, your instructor is telling you how many pages it should take for you to answer the question as fully as you are expected to. So if an assignment is two pages long, you cannot pad your paper with examples or reword your main idea several times. Hit your one point early, defend it with the clearest example, and finish quickly. If an assignment is ten pages long, you can be more complex in your main points and examples—and if you can only produce five pages for that assignment, you need to see someone for help—as soon as possible.

Tricks that don’t work

Your instructors are not fooled when you:

  • spend more time on the cover page than the essay —graphics, cool binders, and cute titles are no replacement for a well-written paper.
  • use huge fonts, wide margins, or extra spacing to pad the page length —these tricks are immediately obvious to the eye. Most instructors use the same word processor you do. They know what’s possible. Such tactics are especially damning when the instructor has a stack of 60 papers to grade and yours is the only one that low-flying airplane pilots could read.
  • use a paper from another class that covered “sort of similar” material . Again, the instructor has a particular task for you to fulfill in the assignment that usually relates to course material and lectures. Your other paper may not cover this material, and turning in the same paper for more than one course may constitute an Honor Code violation . Ask the instructor—it can’t hurt.
  • get all wacky and “creative” before you answer the question . Showing that you are able to think beyond the boundaries of a simple assignment can be good, but you must do what the assignment calls for first. Again, check with your instructor. A humorous tone can be refreshing for someone grading a stack of papers, but it will not get you a good grade if you have not fulfilled the task.

Critical reading of assignments leads to skills in other types of reading and writing. If you get good at figuring out what the real goals of assignments are, you are going to be better at understanding the goals of all of your classes and fields of study.

You may reproduce it for non-commercial use if you use the entire handout and attribute the source: The Writing Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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Field work is the process of observing and collecting data about people, cultures, and natural environments

Biology, Ecology, Geography

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Field work is the process of observing and collecting data about people, cultures , and natural environments . Field work is conducted in the wild of our everyday surroundings rather than in the semi-controlled environments of a lab or classroom. This allows researchers to collect data about the dynamic places, people, and species around them. Field work enables students and researchers to examine the way scientific theories interact with real life. Field work is important in both the social and natural sciences . Social sciences , such as economics or history , focus on people, culture, and society . Natural sciences, such as biology or chemistry , focus on physical characteristics of nature and natural environments. Social Science In anthropology , a researcher may do ethnographic field work, studying and describing the customs of different communities and cultures. Ethnographic field work dramatically changed the purpose and methods of anthropology. Early anthropologists collected ethnographic data from outside sources, usually leaders of the group they were studying, and then compared it to their theories. With this information, anthropologists tried to explain the origins of the cultures customs. By the early 20th century, however, anthropologists began to spend long periods of time in a particular community or geographic area. Rather than relying on outside sources, the anthropologists themselves recorded the activities and customs of local people. They listened to the peoples stories and participated in daily events. Anthropologists became active field workers, experiencing the everyday life of their subjects in order to explain the purpose of local institutions and cultural beliefs and practices. The National Geographic Society supports a variety of social science researchers and projects that use field work as a method of collecting data. One of National Geographics Explorers-in-Residence, Dr. Wade Davis , is an ethnobotanist . An ethnobotanist is someone who studies how different cultures understand and use plants as food , medicine , and in religious ceremonies. Davis spent more than three years in Latin America collecting and studying the plants that different indigenous groups use in their daily lives.

Field work can be conducted by groups of people as well as one individual. Participants in National Geographics Enduring Voices Project conduct field work by visiting and documenting areas of the world where indigenous languages are in danger of becoming extinct . Field workers in the Enduring Voices Project have recorded indigenous languages in places as diverse as Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, and Siberia. Davis and the Enduring Voices Project use field work to document and preserve local knowledge so we may all better understand the diversity of human experiences around the globe. Natural Science Field work is also used to understand how natural environments function. A researcher in the field of ecology , for example, may conduct field work to understand how specific organisms , such as plants and animals, relate to one another and to their physical surroundings. The work of Charles Darwin on the Galapagos Islands is an important example of field work in the natural sciences . After observing that finch populations on different islands had different types of beaks , Darwin theorized that each type of beak was adapted to the birds environment and diet . These observations, along with many others made on his voyage around South America, would lead Darwin to propose his theory of evolution by natural selection , a pillar of modern biology . A number of National Geographic-supported researchers and projects conduct field work to better understand Earths natural environments . Dr. Jenny Daltry, a National Geographic Emerging Explorer in 2005, is a herpetologist , someone who studies reptiles and amphibians . Daltry has traveled to remote regions of Cambodia and the Caribbean, observing and documenting rare species such as the Siamese crocodile and the Antiguan racer snake, known as the rarest snake in the world. She spent more than 400 nights camping on the Caribbean island of Antigua in order to understand the snakes' habitat , behavior , and predators . Daltrys field work helped establish the Antiguan Racer Conservation Project, which has successfully reintroduced the snake into the wild. A field work team from the Ocean Now project, supported by National Geographic, is studying and cataloguing information about healthy coral reef ecosystems . They are doing research in the Southern Line Islands , a remote island chain in the central Pacific Ocean. The project aims to better understand how healthy reefs function in order to help conserve reefs that have been endangered by human activity and climate change . Field work in the natural sciences , like that conducted by Daltry and the Ocean Now project, document the importance, complexity , and fragility of Earths natural environments .

Field Work, One Cubic Foot at a Time Photographer David Liittschwager crafted a 1-square-foot metal cube and placed it in a range of ecosystemsland and water, tropical and temperate, freshwater and marine. Over several weeks at each location, Liittschwager and a team of biologists found, identified, and photographed small creatures that passed through the cube. The result of their field work is an inventory of ecosystem diversity at our planet's surface and just below. The photos of these smaller, often unseen, species are showcased in the February 2010 issue of National Geographic magazine.

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field assignment definition

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Home Market Research

What is Field Research: Definition, Methods, Examples and Advantages

Field Research

What is Field Research?

Field research is defined as a qualitative method of data collection that aims to observe, interact and understand people while they are in a natural environment. For example, nature conservationists observe behavior of animals in their natural surroundings and the way they react to certain scenarios. In the same way, social scientists conducting field research may conduct interviews or observe people from a distance to understand how they behave in a social environment and how they react to situations around them.

Learn more about: Market Research

Field research encompasses a diverse range of social research methods including direct observation, limited participation, analysis of documents and other information, informal interviews, surveys etc. Although field research is generally characterized as qualitative research, it often involves multiple aspects of quantitative research in it.

Field research typically begins in a specific setting although the end objective of the study is to observe and analyze the specific behavior of a subject in that setting. The cause and effect of a certain behavior, though, is tough to analyze due to presence of multiple variables in a natural environment. Most of the data collection is based not entirely on cause and effect but mostly on correlation. While field research looks for correlation, the small sample size makes it difficult to establish a causal relationship between two or more variables.

LEARN ABOUT: Best Data Collection Tools

Methods of Field Research

Field research is typically conducted in 5 distinctive methods. They are:

  • Direct Observation

In this method, the data is collected via an observational method or subjects in a natural environment. In this method, the behavior or outcome of situation is not interfered in any way by the researcher. The advantage of direct observation is that it offers contextual data on people management , situations, interactions and the surroundings. This method of field research is widely used in a public setting or environment but not in a private environment as it raises an ethical dilemma.

  • Participant Observation

In this method of field research, the researcher is deeply involved in the research process, not just purely as an observer, but also as a participant. This method too is conducted in a natural environment but the only difference is the researcher gets involved in the discussions and can mould the direction of the discussions. In this method, researchers live in a comfortable environment with the participants of the research design , to make them comfortable and open up to in-depth discussions.

  • Ethnography

Ethnography is an expanded observation of social research and social perspective and the cultural values of an  entire social setting. In ethnography, entire communities are observed objectively. For example,  if a researcher would like to understand how an Amazon tribe lives their life and operates, he/she may chose to observe them or live amongst them and silently observe their day-to-day behavior.

LEARN ABOUT: Behavioral Targeting

  • Qualitative Interviews

Qualitative interviews are close-ended questions that are asked directly to the research subjects. The qualitative interviews could be either informal and conversational, semi-structured, standardized and open-ended or a mix of all the above three. This provides a wealth of data to the researcher that they can sort through. This also helps collect relational data. This method of field research can use a mix of one-on-one interviews, focus groups and text analysis .

LEARN ABOUT: Qualitative Interview

A case study research is an in-depth analysis of a person, situation or event. This method may look difficult to operate, however, it is one of the simplest ways of conducting research as it involves a deep dive and thorough understanding the data collection methods and inferring the data.

Steps in Conducting Field Research

Due to the nature of field research, the magnitude of timelines and costs involved, field research can be very tough to plan, implement and measure. Some basic steps in the management of field research are:

  • Build the Right Team: To be able to conduct field research, having the right team is important. The role of the researcher and any ancillary team members is very important and defining the tasks they have to carry out with defined relevant milestones is important. It is important that the upper management too is vested in the field research for its success.
  • Recruiting People for the Study: The success of the field research depends on the people that the study is being conducted on. Using sampling methods , it is important to derive the people that will be a part of the study.
  • Data Collection Methodology: As spoken in length about above, data collection methods for field research are varied. They could be a mix of surveys, interviews, case studies and observation. All these methods have to be chalked out and the milestones for each method too have to be chalked out at the outset. For example, in the case of a survey, the survey design is important that it is created and tested even before the research begins.
  • Site Visit: A site visit is important to the success of the field research and it is always conducted outside of traditional locations and in the actual natural environment of the respondent/s. Hence, planning a site visit alongwith the methods of data collection is important.
  • Data Analysis: Analysis of the data that is collected is important to validate the premise of the field research and  decide the outcome of the field research.
  • Communicating Results: Once the data is analyzed, it is important to communicate the results to the stakeholders of the research so that it could be actioned upon.

LEARN ABOUT: Research Process Steps

Field Research Notes

Keeping an ethnographic record is very important in conducting field research. Field notes make up one of the most important aspects of the ethnographic record. The process of field notes begins as the researcher is involved in the observational research process that is to be written down later.

Types of Field Research Notes

The four different kinds of field notes are:

  • Job Notes: This method of taking notes is while the researcher is in the study. This could be in close proximity and in open sight with the subject in study. The notes here are short, concise and in condensed form that can be built on by the researcher later. Most researchers do not prefer this method though due to the fear of feeling that the respondent may not take them seriously.
  • Field Notes Proper: These notes are to be expanded on immediately after the completion of events. The notes have to be detailed and the words have to be as close to possible as the subject being studied.
  • Methodological Notes: These notes contain methods on the research methods used by the researcher, any new proposed research methods and the way to monitor their progress. Methodological notes can be kept with field notes or filed separately but they find their way to the end report of a study.
  • Journals and Diaries: This method of field notes is an insight into the life of the researcher. This tracks all aspects of the researchers life and helps eliminate the Halo effect or any research bias that may have cropped up during the field research.

LEARN ABOUT: Causal Research

Reasons to Conduct Field Research

Field research has been commonly used in the 20th century in the social sciences. But in general, it takes a lot of time to conduct and complete, is expensive and in a lot of cases invasive. So why then is this commonly used and is preferred by researchers to validate data? We look at 4 major reasons:

  • Overcoming lack of data: Field research resolves the major issue of gaps in data. Very often, there is limited to no data about a topic in study, especially in a specific environment analysis . The research problem might be known or suspected but there is no way to validate this without primary research and data. Conducting field research helps not only plug-in gaps in data but collect supporting material and hence is a preferred research method of researchers.
  • Understanding context of the study: In many cases, the data collected is adequate but field research is still conducted. This helps gain insight into the existing data. For example, if the data states that horses from a stable farm generally win races because the horses are pedigreed and the stable owner hires the best jockeys. But conducting field research can throw light into other factors that influence the success like quality of fodder and care provided and conducive weather conditions.
  • Increasing the quality of data: Since this research method uses more than one tool to collect data, the data is of higher quality. Inferences can be made from the data collected and can be statistically analyzed via the triangulation of data.
  • Collecting ancillary data: Field research puts the researchers in a position of localized thinking which opens them new lines of thinking. This can help collect data that the study didn’t account to collect.

LEARN ABOUT: Behavioral Research

Examples of Field Research

Some examples of field research are:

  • Decipher social metrics in a slum Purely by using observational methods and in-depth interviews, researchers can be part of a community to understand the social metrics and social hierarchy of a slum. This study can also understand the financial independence and day-to-day operational nuances of a slum. The analysis of this data can provide an insight into how different a slum is from structured societies.
  • U nderstand the impact of sports on a child’s development This method of field research takes multiple years to conduct and the sample size can be very large. The data analysis of this research provides insights into how the kids of different geographical locations and backgrounds respond to sports and the impact of sports on their all round development.
  • Study animal migration patterns Field research is used extensively to study flora and fauna. A major use case is scientists monitoring and studying animal migration patterns with the change of seasons. Field research helps collect data across years and that helps draw conclusions about how to safely expedite the safe passage of animals.

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Advantages of Field Research

The advantages of field research are:

  • It is conducted in a real-world and natural environment where there is no tampering of variables and the environment is not doctored.
  • Due to the study being conducted in a comfortable environment, data can be collected even about ancillary topics.
  • The researcher gains a deep understanding into the research subjects due to the proximity to them and hence the research is extensive, thorough and accurate.

Disadvantages of Field Research

The disadvantages of field research are:

  • The studies are expensive and time-consuming and can take years to complete.
  • It is very difficult for the researcher to distance themselves from a bias in the research study.
  • The notes have to be exactly what the researcher says but the nomenclature is very tough to follow.
  • It is an interpretive method and this is subjective and entirely dependent on the ability of the researcher.
  • In this method, it is impossible to control external variables and this constantly alters the nature of the research.

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How to Conduct Field Research Study? – A Complete Guide

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There is a challenge in undergoing a research which involves a vast understanding of the environment and the study of subjects staying in that environment. Although the outcome of this study will help fill in the gaps evidently seen in the literature but the process involves a lot of planning. How does one plan such a humongous research study?  In this article, we will discuss how to conduct a field research and what are the different methods used to streamline the field study !

Research is much more than performing the experiment and analyzing results. It involves gathering raw data and understanding the subject of research in its environment. These type of researches are more elaborate and are the reason for producing real information on a large scale.

Table of Contents

What is Field Research?

Field research is a process where data is collected through a qualitative method. The objective of field study  is to observe and interpret the subject of study in its natural environment. It is used in the field of study of humans and health care professions. Furthermore, it connects theory and practical research study by qualitatively analyzing the data.

Why to Conduct Field Study?

Field study allows researchers to identify and observe the subjects and helps draw correlations between subjects and surroundings, and how the surroundings may influence the behavior.

It gives an in-depth information on subjects because they are observed and analyzed for a long period of time.

Field study allows researchers to fill the gaps in data which can be understood by conducting in-depth primary research.

How is a Field Research different from a Lab Research?

Different methods of field study research.

field assignment definition

There are four main types of methods for conducting a field research .

1. Ethnographic Field Notes

This type of field work is particularly associated with field work that records and analyzes culture, society or community. Most commonly this method of research is used in social anthropology, societies and communities.

2. Qualitative Interviews

Qualitative interviews give researchers detailed information. This vast information is segregated in order to make inferences related to the sample group. This data is gathered by conducting interviews either informally, conversationally or in an open ended interview.

3. Direct Observation

Researchers gather information on their subjects through close visual observation. The researcher can record the observations and events as field notes holistically without a guided protocol. This form of research approach is termed as unstructured observation. However, in a structured observation the researcher uses a guide or set protocols to observe people and events. Furthermore, in direct observation the observer is detached and does not obstruct the research setup. It does not work as an alternative method for conducting field research , and rather works as an initial approach to understand the behavior of the research. This type of method is extensively used in fields of sociology and anthropology wherein the researchers focus on recording social life details in a setting, community, or society.

4. Participant Observation

In this research method, the researcher takes part in the everyday life of the members chosen for observation. This gives the observer a better understanding of the study. Additionally, these observation notes are a primary type of data which the researchers later develop into detailed field notes.

field assignment definition

Steps to Conduct a Field Study

1. identify and acquire researchers of the field.

It is essential to acquire researchers who are specialized in the field of research. Moreover, their experience in the field will help them undergo the further steps of conducting the field research .

2. Identify the topic of research

Post acquiring the researcher, they will work on identifying the topic of research. The researchers are responsible for deciding what topic of research to focus on based on the gaps observed in the existing research literature.

3. Identify the right method of research

After fine tuning the research topic, researchers define the right method to approach the aim and objectives of the research.

4. Visit the site of the study and collect data

Based on the objectives, the observations begin. Observers/Researchers go on field and start collecting data either by visual observation, interviews or staying along with the subjects and experiencing their surroundings to get an in-depth understanding.

5. Analyze the data acquired

The researchers undergo the process of data analysis once the data is collected.

6. Communicate the results

The researchers document a detailed field study report , explaining the data and its outcome. Giving the field study a suitable conclusion.

Advantages of Field Study

The major advantage of field study is that the results represent a greater variety of situations and environments. Researchers yield a detailed data analysis which can be used as primary data for many different research hypotheses. Furthermore, field research has the ability to find newer social facts which the setting or community and the participants may be unaware of. Most importantly, there usually is no tampering of data or variable, as data is collected from the natural setting.

Disadvantages of Field Study

Various methods of field study involve researchers conducting research study and immersing themselves on the research field to gather data. This collection of data can be expensive and time consuming. Moreover, the information acquired is usually undertaken through observation of small groups and this may lack understanding and implications to the larger group of study.

Did you ever conduct a field research? How did you find the process? Which type of field research method did you use? Let us know about it in the comment below.

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Research Method

Home » Assignment – Types, Examples and Writing Guide

Assignment – Types, Examples and Writing Guide

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Assignment is a task given to students by a teacher or professor, usually as a means of assessing their understanding and application of course material. Assignments can take various forms, including essays, research papers, presentations, problem sets, lab reports, and more.

Assignments are typically designed to be completed outside of class time and may require independent research, critical thinking, and analysis. They are often graded and used as a significant component of a student’s overall course grade. The instructions for an assignment usually specify the goals, requirements, and deadlines for completion, and students are expected to meet these criteria to earn a good grade.

History of Assignment

The use of assignments as a tool for teaching and learning has been a part of education for centuries. Following is a brief history of the Assignment.

  • Ancient Times: Assignments such as writing exercises, recitations, and memorization tasks were used to reinforce learning.
  • Medieval Period : Universities began to develop the concept of the assignment, with students completing essays, commentaries, and translations to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of the subject matter.
  • 19th Century : With the growth of schools and universities, assignments became more widespread and were used to assess student progress and achievement.
  • 20th Century: The rise of distance education and online learning led to the further development of assignments as an integral part of the educational process.
  • Present Day: Assignments continue to be used in a variety of educational settings and are seen as an effective way to promote student learning and assess student achievement. The nature and format of assignments continue to evolve in response to changing educational needs and technological innovations.

Types of Assignment

Here are some of the most common types of assignments:

An essay is a piece of writing that presents an argument, analysis, or interpretation of a topic or question. It usually consists of an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion.

Essay structure:

  • Introduction : introduces the topic and thesis statement
  • Body paragraphs : each paragraph presents a different argument or idea, with evidence and analysis to support it
  • Conclusion : summarizes the key points and reiterates the thesis statement

Research paper

A research paper involves gathering and analyzing information on a particular topic, and presenting the findings in a well-structured, documented paper. It usually involves conducting original research, collecting data, and presenting it in a clear, organized manner.

Research paper structure:

  • Title page : includes the title of the paper, author’s name, date, and institution
  • Abstract : summarizes the paper’s main points and conclusions
  • Introduction : provides background information on the topic and research question
  • Literature review: summarizes previous research on the topic
  • Methodology : explains how the research was conducted
  • Results : presents the findings of the research
  • Discussion : interprets the results and draws conclusions
  • Conclusion : summarizes the key findings and implications

A case study involves analyzing a real-life situation, problem or issue, and presenting a solution or recommendations based on the analysis. It often involves extensive research, data analysis, and critical thinking.

Case study structure:

  • Introduction : introduces the case study and its purpose
  • Background : provides context and background information on the case
  • Analysis : examines the key issues and problems in the case
  • Solution/recommendations: proposes solutions or recommendations based on the analysis
  • Conclusion: Summarize the key points and implications

A lab report is a scientific document that summarizes the results of a laboratory experiment or research project. It typically includes an introduction, methodology, results, discussion, and conclusion.

Lab report structure:

  • Title page : includes the title of the experiment, author’s name, date, and institution
  • Abstract : summarizes the purpose, methodology, and results of the experiment
  • Methods : explains how the experiment was conducted
  • Results : presents the findings of the experiment


A presentation involves delivering information, data or findings to an audience, often with the use of visual aids such as slides, charts, or diagrams. It requires clear communication skills, good organization, and effective use of technology.

Presentation structure:

  • Introduction : introduces the topic and purpose of the presentation
  • Body : presents the main points, findings, or data, with the help of visual aids
  • Conclusion : summarizes the key points and provides a closing statement

Creative Project

A creative project is an assignment that requires students to produce something original, such as a painting, sculpture, video, or creative writing piece. It allows students to demonstrate their creativity and artistic skills.

Creative project structure:

  • Introduction : introduces the project and its purpose
  • Body : presents the creative work, with explanations or descriptions as needed
  • Conclusion : summarizes the key elements and reflects on the creative process.

Examples of Assignments

Following are Examples of Assignment templates samples:

Essay template:

I. Introduction

  • Hook: Grab the reader’s attention with a catchy opening sentence.
  • Background: Provide some context or background information on the topic.
  • Thesis statement: State the main argument or point of your essay.

II. Body paragraphs

  • Topic sentence: Introduce the main idea or argument of the paragraph.
  • Evidence: Provide evidence or examples to support your point.
  • Analysis: Explain how the evidence supports your argument.
  • Transition: Use a transition sentence to lead into the next paragraph.

III. Conclusion

  • Restate thesis: Summarize your main argument or point.
  • Review key points: Summarize the main points you made in your essay.
  • Concluding thoughts: End with a final thought or call to action.

Research paper template:

I. Title page

  • Title: Give your paper a descriptive title.
  • Author: Include your name and institutional affiliation.
  • Date: Provide the date the paper was submitted.

II. Abstract

  • Background: Summarize the background and purpose of your research.
  • Methodology: Describe the methods you used to conduct your research.
  • Results: Summarize the main findings of your research.
  • Conclusion: Provide a brief summary of the implications and conclusions of your research.

III. Introduction

  • Background: Provide some background information on the topic.
  • Research question: State your research question or hypothesis.
  • Purpose: Explain the purpose of your research.

IV. Literature review

  • Background: Summarize previous research on the topic.
  • Gaps in research: Identify gaps or areas that need further research.

V. Methodology

  • Participants: Describe the participants in your study.
  • Procedure: Explain the procedure you used to conduct your research.
  • Measures: Describe the measures you used to collect data.

VI. Results

  • Quantitative results: Summarize the quantitative data you collected.
  • Qualitative results: Summarize the qualitative data you collected.

VII. Discussion

  • Interpretation: Interpret the results and explain what they mean.
  • Implications: Discuss the implications of your research.
  • Limitations: Identify any limitations or weaknesses of your research.

VIII. Conclusion

  • Review key points: Summarize the main points you made in your paper.

Case study template:

  • Background: Provide background information on the case.
  • Research question: State the research question or problem you are examining.
  • Purpose: Explain the purpose of the case study.

II. Analysis

  • Problem: Identify the main problem or issue in the case.
  • Factors: Describe the factors that contributed to the problem.
  • Alternative solutions: Describe potential solutions to the problem.

III. Solution/recommendations

  • Proposed solution: Describe the solution you are proposing.
  • Rationale: Explain why this solution is the best one.
  • Implementation: Describe how the solution can be implemented.

IV. Conclusion

  • Summary: Summarize the main points of your case study.

Lab report template:

  • Title: Give your report a descriptive title.
  • Date: Provide the date the report was submitted.
  • Background: Summarize the background and purpose of the experiment.
  • Methodology: Describe the methods you used to conduct the experiment.
  • Results: Summarize the main findings of the experiment.
  • Conclusion: Provide a brief summary of the implications and conclusions
  • Background: Provide some background information on the experiment.
  • Hypothesis: State your hypothesis or research question.
  • Purpose: Explain the purpose of the experiment.

IV. Materials and methods

  • Materials: List the materials and equipment used in the experiment.
  • Procedure: Describe the procedure you followed to conduct the experiment.
  • Data: Present the data you collected in tables or graphs.
  • Analysis: Analyze the data and describe the patterns or trends you observed.

VI. Discussion

  • Implications: Discuss the implications of your findings.
  • Limitations: Identify any limitations or weaknesses of the experiment.

VII. Conclusion

  • Restate hypothesis: Summarize your hypothesis or research question.
  • Review key points: Summarize the main points you made in your report.

Presentation template:

  • Attention grabber: Grab the audience’s attention with a catchy opening.
  • Purpose: Explain the purpose of your presentation.
  • Overview: Provide an overview of what you will cover in your presentation.

II. Main points

  • Main point 1: Present the first main point of your presentation.
  • Supporting details: Provide supporting details or evidence to support your point.
  • Main point 2: Present the second main point of your presentation.
  • Main point 3: Present the third main point of your presentation.
  • Summary: Summarize the main points of your presentation.
  • Call to action: End with a final thought or call to action.

Creative writing template:

  • Setting: Describe the setting of your story.
  • Characters: Introduce the main characters of your story.
  • Rising action: Introduce the conflict or problem in your story.
  • Climax: Present the most intense moment of the story.
  • Falling action: Resolve the conflict or problem in your story.
  • Resolution: Describe how the conflict or problem was resolved.
  • Final thoughts: End with a final thought or reflection on the story.

How to Write Assignment

Here is a general guide on how to write an assignment:

  • Understand the assignment prompt: Before you begin writing, make sure you understand what the assignment requires. Read the prompt carefully and make note of any specific requirements or guidelines.
  • Research and gather information: Depending on the type of assignment, you may need to do research to gather information to support your argument or points. Use credible sources such as academic journals, books, and reputable websites.
  • Organize your ideas : Once you have gathered all the necessary information, organize your ideas into a clear and logical structure. Consider creating an outline or diagram to help you visualize your ideas.
  • Write a draft: Begin writing your assignment using your organized ideas and research. Don’t worry too much about grammar or sentence structure at this point; the goal is to get your thoughts down on paper.
  • Revise and edit: After you have written a draft, revise and edit your work. Make sure your ideas are presented in a clear and concise manner, and that your sentences and paragraphs flow smoothly.
  • Proofread: Finally, proofread your work for spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors. It’s a good idea to have someone else read over your assignment as well to catch any mistakes you may have missed.
  • Submit your assignment : Once you are satisfied with your work, submit your assignment according to the instructions provided by your instructor or professor.

Applications of Assignment

Assignments have many applications across different fields and industries. Here are a few examples:

  • Education : Assignments are a common tool used in education to help students learn and demonstrate their knowledge. They can be used to assess a student’s understanding of a particular topic, to develop critical thinking skills, and to improve writing and research abilities.
  • Business : Assignments can be used in the business world to assess employee skills, to evaluate job performance, and to provide training opportunities. They can also be used to develop business plans, marketing strategies, and financial projections.
  • Journalism : Assignments are often used in journalism to produce news articles, features, and investigative reports. Journalists may be assigned to cover a particular event or topic, or to research and write a story on a specific subject.
  • Research : Assignments can be used in research to collect and analyze data, to conduct experiments, and to present findings in written or oral form. Researchers may be assigned to conduct research on a specific topic, to write a research paper, or to present their findings at a conference or seminar.
  • Government : Assignments can be used in government to develop policy proposals, to conduct research, and to analyze data. Government officials may be assigned to work on a specific project or to conduct research on a particular topic.
  • Non-profit organizations: Assignments can be used in non-profit organizations to develop fundraising strategies, to plan events, and to conduct research. Volunteers may be assigned to work on a specific project or to help with a particular task.

Purpose of Assignment

The purpose of an assignment varies depending on the context in which it is given. However, some common purposes of assignments include:

  • Assessing learning: Assignments are often used to assess a student’s understanding of a particular topic or concept. This allows educators to determine if a student has mastered the material or if they need additional support.
  • Developing skills: Assignments can be used to develop a wide range of skills, such as critical thinking, problem-solving, research, and communication. Assignments that require students to analyze and synthesize information can help to build these skills.
  • Encouraging creativity: Assignments can be designed to encourage students to be creative and think outside the box. This can help to foster innovation and original thinking.
  • Providing feedback : Assignments provide an opportunity for teachers to provide feedback to students on their progress and performance. Feedback can help students to understand where they need to improve and to develop a growth mindset.
  • Meeting learning objectives : Assignments can be designed to help students meet specific learning objectives or outcomes. For example, a writing assignment may be designed to help students improve their writing skills, while a research assignment may be designed to help students develop their research skills.

When to write Assignment

Assignments are typically given by instructors or professors as part of a course or academic program. The timing of when to write an assignment will depend on the specific requirements of the course or program, but in general, assignments should be completed within the timeframe specified by the instructor or program guidelines.

It is important to begin working on assignments as soon as possible to ensure enough time for research, writing, and revisions. Waiting until the last minute can result in rushed work and lower quality output.

It is also important to prioritize assignments based on their due dates and the amount of work required. This will help to manage time effectively and ensure that all assignments are completed on time.

In addition to assignments given by instructors or professors, there may be other situations where writing an assignment is necessary. For example, in the workplace, assignments may be given to complete a specific project or task. In these situations, it is important to establish clear deadlines and expectations to ensure that the assignment is completed on time and to a high standard.

Characteristics of Assignment

Here are some common characteristics of assignments:

  • Purpose : Assignments have a specific purpose, such as assessing knowledge or developing skills. They are designed to help students learn and achieve specific learning objectives.
  • Requirements: Assignments have specific requirements that must be met, such as a word count, format, or specific content. These requirements are usually provided by the instructor or professor.
  • Deadline: Assignments have a specific deadline for completion, which is usually set by the instructor or professor. It is important to meet the deadline to avoid penalties or lower grades.
  • Individual or group work: Assignments can be completed individually or as part of a group. Group assignments may require collaboration and communication with other group members.
  • Feedback : Assignments provide an opportunity for feedback from the instructor or professor. This feedback can help students to identify areas of improvement and to develop their skills.
  • Academic integrity: Assignments require academic integrity, which means that students must submit original work and avoid plagiarism. This includes citing sources properly and following ethical guidelines.
  • Learning outcomes : Assignments are designed to help students achieve specific learning outcomes. These outcomes are usually related to the course objectives and may include developing critical thinking skills, writing abilities, or subject-specific knowledge.

Advantages of Assignment

There are several advantages of assignment, including:

  • Helps in learning: Assignments help students to reinforce their learning and understanding of a particular topic. By completing assignments, students get to apply the concepts learned in class, which helps them to better understand and retain the information.
  • Develops critical thinking skills: Assignments often require students to think critically and analyze information in order to come up with a solution or answer. This helps to develop their critical thinking skills, which are important for success in many areas of life.
  • Encourages creativity: Assignments that require students to create something, such as a piece of writing or a project, can encourage creativity and innovation. This can help students to develop new ideas and perspectives, which can be beneficial in many areas of life.
  • Builds time-management skills: Assignments often come with deadlines, which can help students to develop time-management skills. Learning how to manage time effectively is an important skill that can help students to succeed in many areas of life.
  • Provides feedback: Assignments provide an opportunity for students to receive feedback on their work. This feedback can help students to identify areas where they need to improve and can help them to grow and develop.

Limitations of Assignment

There are also some limitations of assignments that should be considered, including:

  • Limited scope: Assignments are often limited in scope, and may not provide a comprehensive understanding of a particular topic. They may only cover a specific aspect of a topic, and may not provide a full picture of the subject matter.
  • Lack of engagement: Some assignments may not engage students in the learning process, particularly if they are repetitive or not challenging enough. This can lead to a lack of motivation and interest in the subject matter.
  • Time-consuming: Assignments can be time-consuming, particularly if they require a lot of research or writing. This can be a disadvantage for students who have other commitments, such as work or extracurricular activities.
  • Unreliable assessment: The assessment of assignments can be subjective and may not always accurately reflect a student’s understanding or abilities. The grading may be influenced by factors such as the instructor’s personal biases or the student’s writing style.
  • Lack of feedback : Although assignments can provide feedback, this feedback may not always be detailed or useful. Instructors may not have the time or resources to provide detailed feedback on every assignment, which can limit the value of the feedback that students receive.

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Organizing Academic Research Papers: Writing a Field Report

  • Purpose of Guide
  • Design Flaws to Avoid
  • Glossary of Research Terms
  • Narrowing a Topic Idea
  • Broadening a Topic Idea
  • Extending the Timeliness of a Topic Idea
  • Academic Writing Style
  • Choosing a Title
  • Making an Outline
  • Paragraph Development
  • Executive Summary
  • Background Information
  • The Research Problem/Question
  • Theoretical Framework
  • Citation Tracking
  • Content Alert Services
  • Evaluating Sources
  • Primary Sources
  • Secondary Sources
  • Tertiary Sources
  • What Is Scholarly vs. Popular?
  • Qualitative Methods
  • Quantitative Methods
  • Using Non-Textual Elements
  • Limitations of the Study
  • Common Grammar Mistakes
  • Avoiding Plagiarism
  • Footnotes or Endnotes?
  • Further Readings
  • Annotated Bibliography
  • Dealing with Nervousness
  • Using Visual Aids
  • Grading Someone Else's Paper
  • How to Manage Group Projects
  • Multiple Book Review Essay
  • Reviewing Collected Essays
  • About Informed Consent
  • Writing Field Notes
  • Writing a Policy Memo
  • Writing a Research Proposal
  • Acknowledgements

Field reports require the researcher to combine theory and analysis learned in the classroom with methods of observation and practice applied outside of the classroom. The purpose of field reports is to describe an observed person, place, or event and to analyze that observation data in order to identify and categorize common themes in relation to the research problem(s) underpinning the study. The data is often in the form of notes taken during the observation but it can also include any form of data gathering, such as, photography, illustrations, or audio recordings.

How to Approach Writing a Field Report

How to Begin

Field reports are most often assigned in the applied social sciences [e.g., social work, anthropology, gerontology, criminal justice, education, law, the health care professions] where it is important to build a bridge of relevancy between the theoretical concepts learned in the classroom and the practice of actually doing the work you are being taught to do. Field reports are also common in certain science and technology disciplines [e.g., geology] but these reports are organized differently and for different purposes than what is described below.

Professors will assign a field report with the intention of improving your understanding of key theoretical concepts through a method of careful and structured observation of and reflection about real life practice. Field reports facilitate the development of data collection techniques and observation skills and allow you to understand how theory applies to real world situations. Field reports are also an opportunity to obtain evidence through methods of observing professional practice that challenge or refine existing theories.

We are all observers of people, their interactions, places, and events; however, your responsibility when writing a field report is to create a research study based on data generated by the act of observation, a synthesis of key findings, and an interpretation of their meaning. When writing a field report you need to:

  • Systematically observe and accurately record the varying aspects of a situation . Always approach your field study with a detailed plan about what you will observe, where you should conduct your observations, and the method by which you will collect and record your data.
  • Continuously analyze your observations . Always look for the meaning underlying the actions you observe. Ask yourself: What's going on here? What does this observed activity mean? What else does this relate to? Note that this is an on-going process of reflection and analysis taking place for the duration of your field research.
  • Keep the report’s aims in mind while you are observing . Recording what you observe should not be done randomly or haphazardly; you must be focused and pay attention to details. Enter the field with a clear plan about what you are intending to observe and record while, at the same time, be prepared to adapt to changing circumstances as they may arise.
  • Consciously observe, record, and analyze what you hear and see in the context of a theoretical framework . This is what separates data gatherings from simple reporting. The theoretical framework guiding your field research should determine what, when, and how you observe and act as the foundation from which you interpret your findings.

Techniques to Record Your Observations Note Taking This is the most commonly used and easiest method of recording your observations. Tips for taking notes include: organizing some shorthand symbols beforehand so that recording basic or repeated actions does not impede your ability to observe, using many small paragraphs, which reflect changes in activities, who is talking, etc., and, leaving space on the page so you can write down additional thoughts and ideas about what’s being observed, any theoretical insights, and notes to yourself about may require further investigation. See drop-down tab for additional information about note-taking. Video and Audio Recordings Video or audio recording your observations has the positive effect of giving you an unfiltered record of the observation event. It also facilitates repeated analysis of your observations. However, these techniques have the negative effect of increasing how intrusive you are as an observer and will often not be practical or even allowed under certain circumstances [e.g., interaction between a doctor and a patient] and in certain organizational settings [e.g., a courtroom]. Illustrations/Drawings This does not an artistic endeavor but, rather, refers to the possible need, for example, to draw a map of the observation setting or illustrating objects in relation to people's behavior. This can also take the form of rough tables or graphs documenting the frequency and type of activities observed. These can be subsequently placed in a more readable format when you write your field report.

Examples of Things to Document While Observing

  • Physical setting . The characteristics of an occupied space and the human use of the place where the observation(s) are being conducted.
  • Objects and material culture . The presence, placement, and arrangement of objects that impact the behavior or actions of those being observed. If applicable, describe the cultural artifacts representing the beliefs--values, ideas, attitudes, and assumptions--used by the individuals you are observing.
  • Use of language . Don't just observe but listen to what is being said, how is it being said, and, the tone of conversation among participants.
  • Behavior cycles . This refers to documenting when and who performs what behavior or task and how often they occur. Record at which stage is this behavior occurring within the setting.
  • The order in which events unfold . Note sequential patterns of behavior or the moment when actions or events take place and their significance.
  • Physical characteristics of subjects. If relevant, note age, gender, clothing, etc. of individuals.
  • Expressive body movements . This would include things like body posture or facial expressions. Note that it may be relevant to also assess whether expressive body movements support or contradict the use of language.

Brief notes about all of these examples contextualize your observations; however, your observation notes will be guided primarily by your theoretical framework, keeping in mind that your observations will feed into and potentially modify or alter these frameworks.

Sampling Techniques

Sampling refers to the process used to select a portion of the population for study . Qualitative research, of which observation is one method, is generally based on non-probability and purposive sampling rather than probability or random approaches characteristic of quantitatively-driven studies. Sampling in observational research is flexible and often continues until no new themes emerge from the data, a point referred to as data saturation.

All sampling decisions are made for the explicit purpose of obtaining the richest possible source of information to answer the research questions. Decisions about sampling assumes you know what you want to observe, what behaviors are important to record, and what research problem you are addressing before you begin the study. These questions determine what sampling technique you should use, so be sure you have adequately answered them before selecting a sampling method.

Ways to sample when conducting an observation include:

Ad Libitum Sampling -- this approach is not that different from what people do at the zoo--observing whatever seems interesting at the moment. There is no organized system of recording the observations; you just note whatever seems relevant at the time. The advantage of this method is that you are often able to observe relatively rare or unusual behaviors that might be missed by more deliberate sampling methods. This method is also useful for obtaining preliminary observations that can be used to develop your final field study. Problems using this method include the possibility of inherent bias toward conspicuous behaviors or individuals and that you may miss brief interactions in social settings.

Behavior Sampling -- this involves watching the entire group of subjects and recording each occurance of a specific behavior of particular interest and with reference to which individuals were involved. The method is useful in recording rare behaviors missed by other sampling methods and is often used in conjunction with focal or scan methods. However, sampling can be biased towards particular conspicuous behaviors.

Continuous Recording -- provides a faithful record of behavior including frequencies, durations, and latencies [the time that elapses between a stimulus and the response to it]. This is a very demanding method because you are trying to record everything within the setting and, thus, measuring reliability may be sacrificed. In addition, durations and latencies are only reliable if subjects remain present throughout the collection of data. However, this method facilitates analyzing sequences of behaviors and ensures obtaining a wealth of data about the observation site and the people within it. The use of audio or video recording is most useful with this type of sampling.

Focal Sampling -- this involves observing one individual for a specified amount of time and recording all instances of that individual's behavior. Usually you have a set of predetermined categories or types of behaviors that you are interested in observing [e.g., when a teacher walks around the classroom] and you keep track of the duration of those behaviors. This approach doesn't tend to bias one behavior over another and provides significant detail about a individual's behavior. However, with this method, you likely have to conduct a lot of focal samples before you have a good idea about how group members interact. It can also be difficult within certain settings to keep one individual in sight for the entire period of the observation.

Instantaneous Sampling -- this is where observation sessions are divided into short intervals divided by sample points. At each sample point the observer records if predetermined behaviors of interest are taking place. This method is not effective for recording discrete events of short duration and, frequently, observers will want to record novel behaviors that occur slightly before or after the point of sampling, creating a sampling error. Though not exact, this method does give you an idea of durations and is relatively easy to do. It is also good for recording behavior patterns occurring at a specific instant, such as, movement or body positions.

One-Zero Sampling -- this is very similar to instantaneous sampling, only the observer records if the behaviors of interest have occurred at any time during an interval instead of at the instant of the sampling point. The method is useful for capturing data on behavior patterns that start and stop repeatedly and rapidly, but that last only for a brief period of time. The disadvantage of this approach is that you get a dimensionless score for an entire recording session, so you only get one one data point for each recording session.

Scan Sampling -- this method involves taking a census of the entire observed group at predetermined time periods and recording what each individual is doing at that moment. This is useful for obtaining group behavioral data and allows for data that are evenly representative across individuals and periods of time. On the other hand, this method may be biased towards more conspicuous behaviors and you may miss a lot of what is going on between observations, especially rare or unusual behaviors.

Alderks, Peter. Data Collection. Psychology 330 Course Documents. Animal Behavior Lab. University of Washington; Emerson, Robert M. Contemporary Field Research: Perspectives and Formulations. 2nd ed. Prospect Heights, IL: Waveland Press, 2001; Emerson, Robert M. et al. “Participant Observation and Fieldnotes.” In Handbook of Ethnography. Paul Atkinson et al., eds. (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2001), 352-368; Emerson, Robert M. et al. Writing Ethnographic Fieldnotes. 2nd ed. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2011; Ethnography, Observational Research, and Narrative Inquiry . Writing@CSU. Colorado State University; Pace, Tonio. Writing Field Reports . Scribd Online Library; Pyrczak, Fred and Randall R. Bruce. Writing Empirical Research Reports: A Basic Guide for Students of the Social and Behavioral Sciences. 5th ed. Glendale, CA: Pyrczak Publishing, 2005; Report Writing . UniLearning. University of Wollongong, Australia; Wolfinger, Nicholas H. On Writing Fieldnotes: Collection Strategies and Background Expectancies.” Qualitative Research 2 (April 2002): 85-95; Writing Reports . Anonymous. The Higher Education Academy.

Structure and Writing Style

How you choose to format your field report is determined by the research problem, the theoretical perspective that is driving your analysis, the observations that you make, and/or specific guidelines established by your professor. Since field reports do not have a standard format, it is worthwhile to determine from your professor what the preferred organization should be before you begin to write. Note that field reports should be written in the past tense. With this in mind, most field reports in the social sciences include the following elements:

I.  Introduction The introduction should describe the specific objective and important theories or concepts underpinning your field study. The introduction should also describe the nature of the organization or setting where you are conducting the observation, what type of observations you have conducted, what your focus was, when you observed, and the methods you used for collecting the data. You should also include a review of pertinent literature.

II.  Description of Activities

Your readers only knowledge and understanding of what happened will come from the description section of your report because they have not been witness to the situation, people, or events that you are writing about. Given this, it is crucial that you provide sufficient details to place the analysis that will follow into proper context; don't make the mistake of providing a description without context. The description section of a field report is similar to a well written piece of journalism. Therefore, a helpful approach to systematically describing the varying aspects of an observed situation is to answer the "Five W’s of Investigative Reporting." These are:

  • What -- describe what you observed. Note the temporal, physical, and social boundaries you imposed to limit the observations you made. What were your general impressions of the situation you were observing. For example, as a student teacher, what is your impression of the application of iPads as a learning device in a history class; as a cultural anthropologist, what is your impression of women participating in a Native American religious ritual?
  • Where -- provide background information about the setting of your observation and, if necessary, note important material objects that are present that help contextualize the observation [e.g., arrangement of computers in relation to student engagement with the teacher].
  • When -- record factual data about the day and the beginning and ending time of each observation. Note that it may also be necessary to include background information or key events which impact upon the situation you were observing [e.g., observing the ability of teachers to re-engage students after coming back from an unannounced fire drill].
  • Who -- note the participants in the situation in terms of age, gender, ethnicity, and/or any other variables relevant to your study. Record who is doing what and saying what, as well as, who is not doing or saying what. If relevant, be sure to record who was missing from the observation.
  • Why -- why were you doing this? Describe the reasons for selecting particular situations to observe. Note why something happened. Also note why you may have included or excluded certain information.

III.  Interpretation and Analysis

Always place the analysis and interpretations of your field observations within the larger context of the theories and issues you described in the introduction. Part of your responsibility in analyzing the data is to determine which observations are worthy of comment and interpretation, and which observations are more general in nature. It is your theoretical framework that allows you to make these decisions. You need to demonstrate to the reader that you are looking at the situation through the eyes of an informed viewer, not as a lay person.

Here are some questions to ask yourself when analyzing your observations:

  • What is the meaning of what you have observed?
  • Why do you think what you observed happened? What evidence do you have for your reasoning?
  • What events or behaviors were typical or widespread? If appropriate, what was unusual or out of ordinary? How were they distributed among categories of people?
  • Do you see any connections or patterns in what you observed?
  • Why did the people you observed proceed with an action in the way that they did? What are the implications of this?
  • Did the stated or implicit objectives of what you were observing match what was achieved?
  • What were the relative merits of the behaviors you observed?
  • What were the strengths and weaknesses of the observations you recorded?
  • Do you see connections between what you observed and the findings of similar studies identified from your review of the literature?
  • How do your observations fit into the larger context of professional practice? In what ways have your observations possibly changed your perceptions of professional practice?
  • Have you learned anything from what you observed?

NOTE: Only base your interpretations on what you have actually observed. Do not speculate or manipulate your observational data to fit into your study's theoretical framework.

IV.  Conclusion and Recommendations

The conclusion should briefly recap of the entire study, reiterating the importance or significance of your observations. Avoid including any new information. You should also state any recommendations you may have. Be sure to describe any unanticipated problems you encountered and note the limitations of your study. The conclusion should not be more than two or three paragraphs.

V.  Appendix

This is where you would place information that is not essential to explaining your findings, but that supports your analysis [especially repetitive or lengthy information], that validates your conclusions, or that contextualizes a related point that helps the reader understand the overall report. Examples of information that could be included in an appendix are figures/tables/charts/graphs of results, statistics, pictures, maps, drawings, or, if applicable, transcripts of interviews. There is no limit to what can be included in the appendix or its format [e.g., a DVD recording of the observation site], provided that it is relevant to the study's purpose and reference is made to it in the report. If information is placed in more than one appendix ["appendices"], the order in which they are organized is dictated by the order they were first mentioned in the text of the report.

VI.  References

List all sources that you consulted and obtained information from while writing your field report. Note that field reports generally do not include further readings or an extended bibliography. However, consult with your professor concerning what your list of sources should be included. Be sure to write them in the preferred citation style of your discipline [i.e., APA, Chicago, MLA, etc.].

Alderks, Peter. Data Collection. Psychology 330 Course Documents. Animal Behavior Lab. University of Washington; Emerson, Robert M. Contemporary Field Research: Perspectives and Formulations. 2nd ed. Prospect Heights, IL: Waveland Press, 2001; Emerson, Robert M. et al. “Participant Observation and Fieldnotes.” In Handbook of Ethnography. Paul Atkinson et al., eds. (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2001), 352-368; Emerson, Robert M. et al. Writing Ethnographic Fieldnotes. 2nd ed. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2011; Ethnography, Observational Research, and Narrative Inquiry . Writing@CSU. Colorado State University; Pace, Tonio. Writing Field Reports . Scribd Online Library; Pyrczak, Fred and Randall R. Bruce. Writing Empirical Research Reports: A Basic Guide for Students of the Social and Behavioral Sciences. 5th ed. Glendale, CA: Pyrczak Publishing, 2005; Report Writing. UniLearning. University of Wollongong, Australia; Wolfinger, Nicholas H. On Writing Fieldnotes: Collection Strategies and Background Expectancies.” Qualitative Research 2 (April 2002): 85-95; Writing Reports. Anonymous. The Higher Education Academy.

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Sacred Heart University


Create assignments in the field with Collector

ArcGIS Workforce is designed for dispatchers to create and assign work for mobile workers to complete  in the field . Assignments are created in the Workforce web app, but mobile workers might notice work that needs to be done while they are in the field. By bringing ArcGIS Collector  to your workflow, mobile workers will be able to create assign ments in the field that will then appear in Workforce.   

To get started, identify a Workforce project that requires mobile workers to have the ability to create assignments from the field.  We’ll create a view of the assignments layer for the mobile workers, make a map , give mobile workers access, and then create assignments using Collector. 

Create a view of the assignments layer

Creating a hosted feature layer view from the assignments layer limits the fields and types of data mobile workers see. This ensures they only edit the Workforce data you want them to. Navigate to the item page of the assignments layer and click  Create  View Layer .   

For more information see Create hosted feature layer views in ArcGIS Online  or  Create hosted feature layer views in ArcGIS Enterprise . 

Set the view definition

field assignment definition

Click  Define Features   to only include assignments with a status of “Unassigned” and click Apply Definition . 

Define Features window

Click  Define Field  to only include the following fields: OBJECTID, Description, Status, Priority, Assignment Type, Work Order ID, Due Date, GlobalID, Location, Creation Date, Creator, Edit Date, and Editor.

Define Fields window

Note : Mobile workers might not need all the fields. You can choose to exclude Description , Priority,  WorkOrderID , and Due Date.   

Configure the pop-up

field assignment definition

Update the  Pop-up Title to show information meaningful to workers creating assignments. Include only the following  fields and display them in this order so that required fields are first: Assignment Type, Location, Description, Priority, Due Date, and Work Order Id. 

Uncheck both  Display   and  Edit   in  Configure Attributes   for each of the other fields to exclude them.  Update the pop-up by clicking  OK  at the bottom of the  panel and  save your changes by clicking  Save Layer . 

Enable editing and sync

In the  Settings  tab, enable editing and configure editing permissions in the  Feature Layer (hosted, view) Settings  section.   

In the  Editing  section, c heck   Enable editing.  C heck   Enable Sync   if your mobile workers need to create assignments while working offline.   

Editing section in feature layer settings

Additionally, check the following options:

  • Under  What kind of editing is allowed ,   a ccept the default option:  Add, update, and delete features .   
  • Under  What features can editors see , accept the default option:  Editors can see all features . This will reduce the creation of duplicate assignments.   
  • Under  What features can editors edit , check  Editors can only edit their own features .   

Save your changes.

Create a map for Collector

On the  Overview tab of your assignments layer view’s item page, click the Open in Map Viewer drop-down menu  and select  Add to new map  with full editing control .   

A new map appears with the assignments layer view.  Click  Save , then Save As  to save your  map. Give it a meaningful title so your mobile workers  know what map to  use in Collector. 

Next, y ou’ll edit the templates in the layer view so that mobile workers have what they need to create new assignments in the field.   

Add a feature template for each assignment type

You’ll add a feature template to the “Unassigned” feature type for each assignment type in your project. You will need the GlobalID of each assignment type you want to add.   

The  GlobalId of an assignment type is located on the Data  tab on the item page for the Assignment Types table. When looking at the  Table , click the Options  menu and click  Show/Hide Columns . Select  GlobalID  to display this value for each assignment.  

Data tab for Assignment Types table

Copy the  GlobalID  for each assignment type that you want mobile workers to use when creating assignments in the field.  

Back in your map,  remove all the feature types and their templates other than the  Unassigned  feature type. Mobile workers should only create unassigned assignments. To remove feature types and templates, click  Edit  and click  Manage  at the bottom of the pane. Next to each feature type (other than  Unassigned ) click the arrow to open the menu and select  Remove .   

Edit templates drop down arrow

Next, add each assignment type as a new template for the  Unassigned  feature type. Click the arrow next to  Unassigned  and click  New Template .   

The  Properties  window appears. Give the template the same name as the assignment  type in the  Name field and use the GlobalID as the default value for the Assignment Type field. 

Properties window

Click  Done  and  repeat  this process for each assignment type you want to add.   

Include any other data in the map that the mobile workers might need when creating assignments. If mobile workers need to take the map offline, you’ll need to make sure you configure it for offline use. For more information, see  Prepare for offline data collection .  

Share the map with mobile workers

Share your new map and layer view with the mobile workers who need to use them.  

If you want all mobile workers in your Workforce project to be able to create assignments in Collector, share the map with the group created with your Workforce project. If instead you want to provide only a subset of mobile workers with access to create assignments, create a new group  for those members .  Share the map you created and the layer view with the new group. For more information, see Create groups in ArcGIS Online  or  Create groups in ArcGIS Enterprise .   

Create assignments in Collector

Mobile workers can open the new map in Collector and create assignments. While they won’t be able to use all the validation and user integration included in the Workforce web app, they can create unassigned assignments that will appear in Workforce. Here are some things to keep in mind:  

  • The mobile worker will need to provide an assignment type and location.  
  • With the view and pop-up customization, they can’t set a dispatcher ID. That’s ok, as the mobile worker might not be a dispatcher. It will be set by Workforce when the  assignment  is assigned through the web app.   
  • The mobile worker can include a photo or attachment to the assignment.  
  • Be  careful  when deleting assignments. It is permanent and not the same as closing them.   
  • Mobile workers can use a feature and Collect here to create an assignment at that feature; however, the assignment’s location field won’t be prepopulated with the feature’s pop-up title as it is in the Workforce  web app.   

Data collection screen in Collector

Now work that mobile workers notice in the field can be recorded and ready for assignment in Workforce. 

About the author

field assignment definition

Josh Clifford

Josh is a Product Writer with a background in geography and comparative literature. When he isn't writing for the field apps team, he enjoys reading short stories and playing his bass clarinet.

Article Discussion:

Related content:.

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Field Engineer

What Does a Field Engineer Do?

field assignment definition

Kaushik Bhaumik

November 29, 2022

field assignment definition

What is a Field Engineer?

Also known as field service engineers, field engineers are tasked with managing technical functions, testing equipment, handling repairs, managing engineering projects, and conducting site inspections. The main difference between traditional engineers and field engineers is the fact that field engineers are tasked with maintaining infrastructure outside of a centralized operations center. As opposed to other disciplines of engineering, field engineers spend only a small percentage of their time at an office.

Each field engineer typically focuses on one service area. For example, there are field engineers who are software specialists, hardware specialists, and other engineers who focus on different types of systems maintenance. Field engineers can work in the construction, telecommunication, energy, oil and gas, and manufacturing industries. Your specific duties depend on the industry in which you work, but you typically must travel to a work site to inspect it before they install a machine or piece of equipment. You also travel whenever equipment is experiencing technical issues.

Also Read: A Better Way to Job Search for Field Engineer ‍


field assignment definition

Field engineer duties usually include inspecting and installing equipment and new technologies, directing crews or workers on site, conducting research, and reporting on project status. Field engineers will make sure that everything works smoothly and engineering designs are being followed.


  • Communicate with clients to determine needs and explain complex issues
  • Conduct research and studies on site
  • Manage field activities and implement engineering designs
  • Diagnose construction or machinery problems
  • Resolve malfunctions or other crises when they arise
  • Oversee repairs and technical improvements
  • Install new systems and technology
  • Inspect and test material and machinery for safety
  • Ensure proper maintenance of onsite equipment
  • Supervise and direct onsite crew (e.g. technicians)
  • Draft and submit reports

Career Path

To pursue a career as a field engineer, one can make use of training programs, degrees, and apprenticeships that are offered at various institutions. While formal training is required to get the job, it is mostly on the job that you will attain most of your training and experience which would help you be successful. The field options that you have are numerous and include utilities, pest control, programming, electronics and plumbing among others.

field assignment definition

As far as the scheduling is concerned, there are no fixed rules. This can vary depending on the service you offer and how much you are willing to travel. You will find some field engineers who are open to travel for an assignment, while there are others who prefer a standard daily schedule. A self-employed engineer can decide his own schedule.

While a field engineer might require a team for certain assignments, overall, they work alone. A field engineer tool kit is sometimes supplied by the company, while at other times, this is an investment that you will need to make. Traveling and communication expenses also need to be thought about.

If you have a job in a company that is technology-based, you might have to continue your education as products are always in a constant state of evolution and you will need to adapt to the changes that are being made. Some companies are willing to pay for continued education.

Also Read: What kinds of work can freelance engineers do?

Skills Required to Succeed as a Field Engineer

There are certain skills that will be required if you want to have success in the field. For starters, you need to be equipped with the ability to manage technical work even if you do not have any supervision. You also need to develop the ability to work in difficult conditions including adverse climatic conditions.

field assignment definition

  • Previous experience as a field engineer or similar role
  • Well-versed in technical aspects of field projects, including machinery and equipment
  • Understanding of safety guidelines
  • Attention to detail
  • Outstanding communication skills
  • An analytical mind and strong problem-solving ability
  • Ability to work in adverse weather and occasional overtime and weekends
  • Degree in Engineering, Computer Science or a similar field

Many times, it is not just problem solving that you will be required to do. You will need to diagnose the problem first, so this is something that you need to develop an understanding of.

You also need to be able to communicate well with your customers and be able to understand the points that they are trying to make.

It is also recommended that you have an interest in the field. Without enthusiasm and passion for this line of work, it may be harder for you to have success.

There is no denying that there is plenty of work in this field. However, it does require commitment and passion. You will need to develop the ability to think critically. At the same time, you will also need to be open to learning throughout your life since new tools and advancements are frequently introduced. If you are contemplating becoming a field engineer , these are a few things that you need to be prepared for.

How Much Does a Field Engineer Make? estimates the average pay for a Field Engineer in the United States to be $68,085 per year, with a salary range of $61,252 to $74,320. Additional pay could include a cash bonus, commission, tips, and profit sharing. Salary ranges can vary widely depending on what sector you are working in as well as other factors such as education, certifications, additional skills, and the number of years you have spent in your profession.

See How Field Engineer can help companies hire a field engineer from 60,000+ vetted engineers

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NFL Announces Referee Assignments For Wild Card Weekend

Posted: January 8, 2024 | Last updated: January 8, 2024

The 2023 NFL playoff field has been officially set and wildcard weekend will kick on Saturday and end on Monday night.

Twelve teams will play this weekend with the No. 1-seeded Baltimore Ravens of the AFC and San Francisco 49ers of the NFC waiting in the wings with their first-round bye.

We know the dates, times, and locations for all the matchups, and now the NFL officially announced the head referee assignments for all six wildcard games:

  • Cleveland Browns vs. Houston Texans – Clay Martin
  • Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Buffalo Bills – Carl Cheffers
  • Los Angeles Rams vs. Detroit Lions – Craig Wrolstad
  • Miami Dolphins vs. Kansas City Chiefs – Brad Rogers
  • Green Bay Packers vs. Dallas Cowboys – Ron Torbert
  • Philadelphia Eagles vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Adrian Hill

Notably, Brad Allen was not added to the playoff lineup after his officiating crew called a controversial illegal touching penalty on the Detroit Lions at the end of their Week 17 loss to the Dallas Cowboys.

Otherwise, though, the list of referees looks pretty sound, with Cheffers and Torbert both having Super Bowl officiating experience.

The matchups are intriguing as well, with huge storylines on the docket like Tyreek Hill’s return to Kansas City, Matthew Stafford’s return to Detroit, and Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy taking on the Packers at home.

Ideally, who the referees are shouldn’t play into the outcome of any of these games.

But stranger things have happened in the NFL, as we’ve seen both in the playoffs and the regular season over the past several years.

The 2023 NFL playoff field has been officially set and wildcard weekend will kick on Saturday and end on Monday night. Twelve teams will play this weekend with the No. 1-seeded Baltimore Ravens of the AFC and San Francisco 49ers of the NFC waiting in the wings with their first-round bye. We know the dates, times, and locations for all the matchups, and now the NFL officially announced the head referee assignments for all six wildcard games: Cleveland Browns vs. Houston Texans – Clay Martin Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Buffalo Bills – Carl Cheffers Los Angeles Rams vs. Detroit Lions […]

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2024 NFL playoff schedule, bracket: Dates, times and TV for every round of AFC and NFC postseason

Here's the full schedule for the 2024 nfl playoffs.


The NFL playoffs are finally upon us. After a wild 18 weeks, the NFL regular-season is finally in the books and it's now time for the postseason as the wild card round is now upon us. 

Although there will be some familiar faces in the playoffs this year -- like the 49ers, Chiefs and Cowboys -- there will also be some new blood. As a matter of fact, of the four teams in NFL history that have never been to a Super Bowl, three of them -- Houston, Cleveland and Detroit -- are in the playoffs this year. Unfortunately for the Browns and Texans, they'll be facing each other, which means one of those teams will be going home after the first round. 

As for Detroit, the Lions will be hosting their first playoff game in 30 years and in a twist, they'll be facing someone they're very familiar with: Matthew Stafford. With Jared Goff starting for the Lions, the game between Los Angeles and Detroit will mark the first time in playoff history where both starting quarterbacks are facing their former team. That game will be going down on Sunday at 8 p.m. ET on NBC. 

As for the rest of the 2024 NFL playoff schedule, you can see that below and you can watch Super Bowl LVIII on CBS and Nickelodeon and stream on  Paramount+ (try 7 days free). 

Super Wild Card Weekend

Saturday, Jan. 13

  • (5) Browns at (4) Texans, 4:30 p.m. ET (NBC, fubo ). For just the second time in 20 years, the Browns are in the playoffs. These two teams met back in Week 16, but you probably shouldn't take too much away from that 36-22 win by Cleveland because C.J. Stroud didn't play. The Texans superstar rookie will be on the field this week and he'll be facing one of his biggest tests of the season in the Browns defense. 
  • (6) Dolphins at (3)  Chiefs , 8 p.m. ET (Peacock). Tyreek Hill is going to get a second chance at beating his former team, and this time, he gets to do it in Kansas City. These two teams did meet back in Week 9 in a game that Kansas City won 21-14, but that game was played in Germany. The temperature in Kansas City is expected to be hovering around 6 degrees when the game kicks off on Saturday night. 

Sunday, Jan. 14

  • (7) Steelers at (2) Bills, 1 p.m. ET (CBS/stream on Paramount+ ( click here ). This game will be played in Buffalo, where the Bills have been nearly unbeatable this year, going 7-1. Josh Allen has faced the Steelers four times in his career and he's gone 3-1 in those games. The Sunday forecast in Buffalo is calling for sub-freezing temperatures with possible snow. 
  • (7) Packers at (2) Cowboys , 4:30 p.m. ET (Fox, fubo ). This will be a revenge game for Mike McCarthy. This will mark just the second time that the Cowboys coach has faced the Packers since being fired by them in December 2018. McCarthy lost the first meeting in 2022 and will be looking to get his first win over Green Bay. 
  • (6) Rams at (3) Lions , 8 p.m. ET (NBC, fubo ). For their first home playoff game in 30 years, the Lions will be welcoming an old friend back to Detroit: Matthew Stafford . The Rams QB led the Lions to the playoffs three times, but never got to play a home game. This will also be a huge game for Jared Goff , who will be facing a team and a head coach that traded him away because they didn't want him anymore. 

Monday, Jan. 15

  • (5) Eagles at (4) Buccaneers , 8:15 p.m. ET (ABC/ESPN, fubo ). The Eagles are stumbling into the playoffs, but they will head to Tampa Bay knowing that they beat the Buccaneers 25-11 at Raymond James Stadium back in Week 3. 

Divisional Round

Saturday, Jan. 20

TBD vs. TBD, 4:30 p.m. ET

TBD vs. TBD, 8:15 p.m. ET

Sunday, Jan. 21

TBD vs. TBD, 3 p.m. ET

TBD vs. TBD, 6:30 p.m. ET 

Divisional round notes: The 49ers will be playing the worst remaining seed in the NFC divisional round while the Ravens will face the worst remaining seed in the AFC. Also, the winner of the Monday night game will get to play on Sunday in the divisional round. 

Championship Sunday

Sunday, Jan. 28

AFC Championship, 3 p.m. ET (CBS)

NFC Championship, 6:30 p.m. ET (Fox)

Super Bowl LVIII 

Sunday, Feb. 11

AFC vs. NFC in Las Vegas, 6:30 p.m. ET 

The Super Bowl will be televised on CBS with an alternate broadcast available on Nickelodeon. You'll also be able to stream the game on Paramount+. 

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  1. Understanding the Fieldwork Assignment

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  3. Understanding the Fieldwork Assignment

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  4. PPT

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  1. Bemish Field Trip

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  1. Organizing Your Social Sciences Research Assignments

    Definition The purpose of a field report in the social sciences is to describe the deliberate observation of people, places, and/or events and to analyze what has been observed in order to identify and categorize common themes in relation to the research problem underpinning the study.

  2. Organizing Your Social Sciences Research Assignments

    Definition Refers to notes created by the researcher during the act of conducting a field study to remember and record the behaviors, activities, events, and other features of an observation.

  3. Field Study Guide: Definition, Steps & Examples

    A field study is a research method that involves conducting observations and collecting data in a natural setting. This method includes observing, interviewing, and interacting with participants in their environment, such as a workplace, community, or natural habitat.

  4. PDF Field Experience Handbook

    FIELD EXPERIENCE ASSIGNMENTS: Field assignments that pertain to the observations made at the students' chosen school . Assignments/ activities are defined in the respective course syllabus . Deadlines for submitted assignments and . log sheets will be provided by the instructor . Definition of Terms/Roles

  5. Fields

    A field is a variable of any type that is declared directly in a class or struct. Fields are members of their containing type. A class or struct may have instance fields, static fields, or both. Instance fields are specific to an instance of a type. If you have a class T, with an instance field F, you can create two objects of type T, and ...

  6. 2.2B: Fieldwork and Observation

    Fieldwork and Observation. Ethnography is a qualitative research strategy, involving a combination of fieldwork and observation, which seeks to understand cultural phenomena that reflect the knowledge and system of meanings guiding the life of a cultural group. It was pioneered in the field of socio-cultural anthropology, but has also become a ...

  7. field assignment

    First field assignment -. OpenSubtitles2018.v3. This is my first field assignment. OpenSubtitles2018.v3. Once recruited they will follow a managed development programme, including the possibility of a field assignment. MultiUn. Looks like the first field assignment has to remain uncompleted. opensubtitles2.

  8. Understanding Assignments

    Basic beginnings Regardless of the assignment, department, or instructor, adopting these two habits will serve you well: Read the assignment carefully as soon as you receive it. Do not put this task off—reading the assignment at the beginning will save you time, stress, and problems later.

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    Vocabulary Field work is the process of observing and collecting data about people, cultures, and natural environments. Field work is conducted in the wild of our everyday surroundings rather than in the semi-controlled environments of a lab or classroom.

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    Field study, also called field research or fieldwork, is a research method that collects data in a natural setting. This could take place in one's backyard or the Amazonian jungle, but not a ...

  13. What is Field Research: Definition, Methods, Examples and Advantages

    Field research is defined as a qualitative method of data collection that aims to observe, interact and understand people while they are in a natural environment. For example, nature conservationists observe behavior of animals in their natural surroundings and the way they react to certain scenarios.

  14. PDF Writing Your Assignment

    An assignment is something you'll be asked to produce as part of your course, and is usually assessed. There are many different types of assignment, so make sure you understand which kind you have been told to do. This guide will give you some tips to help you get started. Depending on the kind of assignment you have to

  15. How to Conduct Field Research Study?

    It is essential to acquire researchers who are specialized in the field of research. Moreover, their experience in the field will help them undergo the further steps of conducting the field research. 2. Identify the topic of research. Post acquiring the researcher, they will work on identifying the topic of research.

  16. Assignment (computer science)

    An assignment operation is a process in imperative programming in which different values are associated with a particular variable name as time passes. [1] The program, in such model, operates by changing its state using successive assignment statements.

  17. Assignment

    Definition: Assignment is a task given to students by a teacher or professor, usually as a means of assessing their understanding and application of course material. Assignments can take various forms, including essays, research papers, presentations, problem sets, lab reports, and more.

  18. Organizing Academic Research Papers: Writing a Field Report

    Field reports are also common in certain science and technology disciplines [e.g., geology] but these reports are organized differently and for different purposes than what is described below. Professors will assign a field report with the intention of improving your understanding of key theoretical concepts through a method of careful and ...

  19. Create assignments in the field with Collector

    Click the arrow next to Unassigned and click New Template. The Properties window appears. Give the template the same name as the assignment type in the Name field and use the GlobalID as the default value for the Assignment Type field. Click Done and repeat this process for each assignment type you want to add.

  20. What is a Field Engineer? What Does a Field Engineer Do?

    Also known as field service engineers, field engineers are tasked with managing technical functions, testing equipment, handling repairs, managing engineering projects, and conducting site inspections. The main difference between traditional engineers and field engineers is the fact that field engineers are tasked with maintaining ...

  21. field assignment definition

    to deal with or handle, esp. adequately and by making a reciprocal gesture(Old English feld; related to Old Saxon, Old High German feld, Old English fold earth, Greek platus broad) Bosworth Field n (English history) dark-field illumination dark-field microscope depth of field → the senior official at an archery meeting, responsible for safety

  22. NFL Announces Referee Assignments For Wild Card Weekend

    The 2023 NFL playoff field has been officially set and wildcard weekend will kick on Saturday and end on Monday night. Twelve teams will play this weekend with the No. 1-seeded Baltimore Ravens of ...

  23. field assignment definition

    field event ( field events plural ) A field event is an athletics contest such as the high jump or throwing the discus or javelin, rather than a race. n-count. field-glasses , field glasses. Field-glasses are the same as binoculars. FORMAL n-plural also a pair of N.

  24. Letter of Authorization/Carrier Field Assignment definition

    Related to Letter of Authorization/Carrier Field Assignment. Letter of Authorization means a letter signed by an officer of the licensee on whose behalf the filing is submitted that designates filing authority to the filer. Letter of Authority means the letter of authority executed by me whereby I authorise one or more persons to operate and ...

  25. Field Technician Assignment Definition

    Field Technician Assignment. The CCA shall identify a Field Technician for the dispatch. Once the Field Technician has accepted the assignment, the CCA shall contact the Client's TPOC and provide the Field Technician personnel's name, mobile telephone number, and Estimated Time of Arrival (ETA) to the associated site. The CCA shall update the internal trouble ticket with the indicated ...

  26. 2024 NFL playoff schedule, bracket: Dates, times and TV for every round

    The Texans superstar rookie will be on the field this week and he'll be facing one of his biggest tests of the season in the Browns defense. (6) Dolphins at (3) Chiefs , 8 p.m. ET (Peacock).