Thursday, December 11, 2008

Call for Submissions - Disasters in the Field: Preparing for and Coping with Unexpected Events

I'm posting the following to my blog for a colleague:

Have you ever had essential equipment fail when you are in the middle of the jungle? A difficult student? Research permission revoked in the middle of the project? Been struck by lightning? Dropped your camcorder in a river? We need your stories about challenges in field research. We all know that the old adage, “what can go wrong, will go wrong” often holds true when we do international field research. However, we all find creative ways of working around these potential disasters. We are working on a book titled, Disasters in the Field: Preparing for and Coping with Unexpected Events. The purpose is to present students and researchers with an overview of problems associated with doing international fieldwork—to provide them with practical suggestions that will help them prepare for the field and minimize the impact of unexpected events. We’re going to use real stories to make these issues come to life. If you have a story about any of the topics below, please consider submitting it. Stories are 200-1000 words and will be incorporated into chapters. You have the option of being credited with the submission or requesting that it be anonymous. Please contact Gillian Ice and Darna Dufour at if you are interested.

Guidelines for submissions for Disasters in the Field: Preparing for and Coping with Unexpected Events.

Stories may be submitted on any of the following topics:
- Equipment failure, loss, confiscation
- Data loss
- Cultural misunderstandings that disrupt research
- Corruption, crime, political unrest that impacts research
- Health Emergencies
- Issues with participant recruitment and/or retention
- Student issues
- Personal or family issues that disrupt research
- Other potential disasters not listed here are also welcome

Please be concise (200-1000 words) but provide enough detail so the reader understands the issue. Include information on how you dealt with issue (successfully or unsuccessfully). After you relay the story please provide us with information about what you “learned from your experience”. What might you do differently in the future to avoid the problem, if possible? How might you handle the situation differently now? Contributions will be woven into chapters with specific topics. Depending on how many submissions we get we may not be able to use all contributions and we may have to edit some contributions for length. Any edits will be approved by contributors. You may submit photos or line drawings to illustrate your story. Please indicate if you prefer to be credited with your contribution or to have it listed as an anonymous contribution. Please submit your stories no later than April 1, 2009. Stories should be written in Microsoft word and submitted via email to:

After review of submissions, we will select stories for inclusion in the book. Some stories will be featured in their entirety, while others may only be included as short excerpts. You will be informed either way by email by August 1, 2009. At that time, you will be asked to sign a release form for publication. Authors of feature stories will be provided with a free copy of the book.

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