The field diary is an instrument used by researchers to record those facts that are likely to be interpreted. In this sense, the field diary is a tool that allows the experiences to be systematized in order to later analyze the results.
Each researcher has his own methodology when carrying out his field diary. Developed ideas, isolated sentences, transcriptions, maps and diagrams, for example, can be included. The important thing is that he can put into the newspaper what he sees during his investigative process and then interpret it.
In an investigation, the field diary allows recording facts that can be interpreted.
Stages in the development of a field diary
There are many tips that professionals in the scientific field make about what it would be like to carry out a field diary. However, the general steps that are usually established in this sense are to begin by carrying out a general observation, record everything that is seen in that first contact (smells, sounds, weather, actions…) and describe the sensations and impressions that cause those elements to the scientist who is carrying out that aforementioned newspaper.
However, for that document to be complete, exhaustive and useful, it is also recommended to include conclusions, differentiate what are the general elements from the elements of the study or write down the observation periods in a chronological manner.
And all this without forgetting either that it is very important that the newspaper is developed through a clear and faithful wording to what is being observed. But yes, with the personal style that is possessed because, after all, this diary is a document that will be useful to the author himself.
The field diary is built from the subjectivity of the researcher.
The subjectivity of the researcher
Of course, what is recorded in the field diary will not be the reality itself, but the reality seen through the eyes of the researcher, with his perceptions and worldview. Subjectivity comes into play from the moment the facts are recorded, and not only in their interpretation. That is why it can be affirmed that, even if two researchers work together on the same topic, the field diaries of each one of them will be different.
Specialists recommend that the field diary be divided into two columns. In this way, the researcher can include on one side what refers to the observations he makes and, on the other, his impressions or conclusions. It is also recommended that, after the day, the researcher meets with his co-workers to share ideas that can be put into the journal.
From the field diary to a book
Keep in mind that the field journal is usually the first step of the essays, reflections and books on the research in question.
Researchers who have to make their first field diary should know that there are manuals or books on the market that explain in a simple and very clear way how they can carry out this task. This would be the case, for example, of the work entitled “Field Diaries” that was carried out by Juan M. García Jorba. It achieves not only that the reader learns to make said document but also to better understand what the research process is.