field·​work | \ ˈfēld-ˌwərk How to pronounce fieldwork (audio) \

Definition of fieldwork

1 : a temporary fortification thrown up by an army in the field
2 : work done in the field (as by students) to gain practical experience and knowledge through firsthand observation
3 : the gathering of anthropological or sociological data through the interviewing and observation of subjects in the field

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Other Words from fieldwork

field-worker \ ˈfēld-​ˌwər-​kər How to pronounce fieldwork (audio) \ noun

Examples of fieldwork in a Sentence

an anthropologist who has done fieldwork in the South Pacific
Recent Examples on the Web Each student normally is required to do some fieldwork in a synagogue or hospital, as well as have some experience in a pastoral setting such as a nursing home. Stewart Ain,, "Starting a new job as a rabbi during the pandemic is not easy," 29 Dec. 2020 But skeptics scoffed at wildlife telemetry as a sterile substitute for the traditional fieldwork of surreptitiously observing animals in the wild. New York Times, "Skip to site index," 12 Jan. 2021 Once during fieldwork, Rahman struggled to track down a Burmese python even with its GPS location in hand. Marion Renault, The New Republic, "The Paradox of the Burmese Python," 6 Oct. 2020 Mary Catherine was reared according to the rituals and practices her parents had observed in their fieldwork, including being breastfed on demand; her mother would consult with Dr. Spock. New York Times, "Mary Catherine Bateson Dies at 81; Anthropologist on Lives of Women," 14 Jan. 2021 Political instability in Venezuela is preventing our fieldwork from continuing at the Venezuela plot. Caroline S. Chaboo, The Conversation, "Tiny treetop flowers foster incredible beetle biodiversity," 3 Dec. 2020 Coming fieldwork may uncover such creatures, which would provide the critical evidence for this hypothesis to take wing. Riley Black, Scientific American, "Pterosaur Origins Flap into Focus," 9 Dec. 2020 Preregistration isn’t always possible, because the vagaries of fieldwork often force researchers to change plans. Cathleen O’grady, Science | AAAS, "Psychology’s replication crisis inspires ecologists to push for more reliable research," 9 Dec. 2020 That’s what these three scientists have had to figure out this year, as the global pandemic has kept them from their fieldwork. Miriah Kelly, The Conversation, "From permafrost microbes to survivor songbirds – research projects are also victims of COVID-19 pandemic," 7 Dec. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'fieldwork.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of fieldwork

1686, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for fieldwork

Time Traveler

The first known use of fieldwork was in 1686

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Statistics for fieldwork

Last Updated

19 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Fieldwork.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for fieldwork



English Language Learners Definition of fieldwork

: the work of gathering information by going into the field (sense 4)

More from Merriam-Webster on fieldwork

Britannica English: Translation of fieldwork for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about fieldwork

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