I have just completed my first field work project in Nepal for my PhD. It went surprisingly well considering I have no experience in conducting research. It quickly became apparent that my success can be entirely credited to my awesome local research assistant. She had conducted research before and project managed many events in Nepal and brought so much experience and insight to my study.
It also became obvious that my initial concepts and ideas, which were concocted in my office in Sydney, were not appropriate or applicable in the Nepali context. While this was a learning experience for me, my research assistant new how to shape things to allow interesting information and data to be collected.
While the results of this study are far from what I anticipated, it has been such a rewarding and insightful experience. I know that I’ve collected interesting information that will still be useful in my PhD journey.
My one piece of advice for other researchers is to surround yourself with knowledgeable and experienced people and learn everything you can from them 🙂