field·​work | \ ˈfēld-ˌwərk \

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 \ noun

Examples of fieldwork in a Sentence

an anthropologist who has done fieldwork in the South Pacific

Recent Examples on the Web

With daily fieldwork and nightly lectures, participants bunk in ramshackle shelters and see as much bone-chilling wind and rain as skin-blistering sun reflected off endless mounds of snow. Scott Yorko, Popular Mechanics, "Back to Alaska: How a Legendary Glacier Adventure Almost Died When the World Needed It Most," 12 Sep. 2018 Mary Doria Russell did extensive fieldwork for this moving novel about the experience of an Italian community under 20 months of German occupation. Megan Koreman, WSJ, "Five Best: Megan Koreman on the Cost of Courage Under Nazism," 25 Oct. 2018 The team plans to begin that fieldwork within the next year. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "The world’s oldest figurative drawing depicts a wounded animal," 9 Nov. 2018 Being an Explorer isn’t a staff position within the Society; rather, being an Explorer is an opportunity to pursue projects and fieldwork with Society funding, training, and resources, and to join a community of like-minded people. Michael Nichols, National Geographic, "Here’s What It Really Means to Become a National Geographic Explorer," 11 June 2018 Our latest research, involving four years of extensive fieldwork, including interviews with officials on all sides, leads us to agree. Stefan Wolff, Washington Post, "Remember the Cold War? Putin has brought it back.," 19 Mar. 2018 That isn’t necessarily bad; fieldwork generates stories and friendships as well as hard data. Brian Switek, Smithsonian, "The Many Ways Women Get Left Out of Paleontology," 8 June 2018 The fieldwork was carried out by an overall team of 840 individuals, equally balanced on gender, who conducted 45,000 hours of interviews. Dana El Kurd, Washington Post, "On Israel’s 70th anniversary, what does the region think?," 15 May 2018 In that event, further fieldwork in Urabá would be unlikely. Lizzie Wade, Science | AAAS, "Colombian scientists race to study once-forbidden territory before it is lost to development—or new conflict," 26 Apr. 2018

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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Statistics for fieldwork

Last Updated

6 Jan 2019

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Time Traveler for fieldwork

The first known use of fieldwork was in 1686

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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)

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More from Merriam-Webster on fieldwork

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with fieldwork

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

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