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Healthier in the Field


“... deep down, I knew I had malaria, and I knew I should seek help, but why didn’t I? My diary from those days tells a clear story. My fear of not having data led me to the belief that I will feel better the next day, which was my major justification for repeatedly postponing my search for medical help.”

In my classes of ethnographic fieldwork methods, I make sure to include topics of mental health and physical self-care. I mostly draw on my fieldwork experiences, one of them quoted above (Bombjaková, 2020:127).


We need to hear more of such stories to make students’ field preparation more effective.


My aim is to create an open-access database of such experiences, providing students or anyone who prepares for the fieldwork with a wide array of stories concerning mental health and strategies to maintain physical and mental well-being in the field.


What do you wish somebody had told you about staying healthy during your research fieldwork? Click here to participate and share your experiences.


Your data will be anonymised, unless you wish otherwise. If you have any questions regarding this project or privacy issues, feel free to contact me.


Bombjaková, D. 2020. Culturally appropriate solutions to fieldwork challenges among Mbendjele BaYaka hunter-gatherers of the Congo Basin. In: Hewlett, B. L. (ed.) (2020) The secret lives of anthropologists: lessons from the field. Abingdon, Oxon ; New York, NY: Routledge, pp. 112-133.

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