The field observation, an ethnographic practice of collecting data and information about a given social setting and situation is often used in preliminary research to have an understanding of the community one is researching. However, from an artist/musician's perspective, the field observation has many commonalities with techniques used in audio field recording. How can field recording be used in parallel with field observations to explore and understand a community through art? This essay will begin with a comparison of field observations and field recordings as methods in their own disciplines, and continue with the concept of “attention” in art, music, science and anthropology. It will follow and conclude with a project that looks at combining qualitative research and art to explore a community of gardeners through recorded interviews and sounds. The work of Pauline Oliveros, Walter S. Gershon, Clifford Geertz, Anne McCrary Sullivan, and Steven Feld will be important in making the connections across disciplines.
Science Technology Studies, Situated Knowledge, Arts Based Research, Pauline Oliveros, Anthropology of Sound
Special thanks to Mary Ann Kearns for preliminary editorial advice, and Pauline Oliveros for taking the time in this interview.
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Recommended APA Citation
Smiley, S. (2015). Field Recording or Field Observation?: Audio Meets Method in Qualitative Research. The Qualitative Report, 20(11), 1812-1822. https://doi.org/10.46743/2160-3715/2015.2380