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Field Research

NOTE: This program will not be available in Summer 2020.  Check back for updates at the start of the 2020-21 academic year.

This program requires students to spend 14 days living in "the field" conducting field research and investigations. 

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  • community members sit together

    At work in the community

    Students gain rich, hands-on experience working directly in communities in rural India. Here, Amarilis Altagracia (left, MPP ’17) worked with a team to conduct a focus group with area farmers to identify the needs of their community.

Field investigations happen in three periods that take place sequentially throughout the program. 

The visits typically follow this pattern:

  • first visit: 3 days
  • second visit: 7 days
  • third visit: 4 days. 

Some teams may spend additional time in the field to capture all the necessary information to create an informed project proposal for their NGO. 

There is an equal focus on investigating problems and experiences on the ground, and understanding in more depth and detail the specifics of NGOs and their service delivery. For both aspects, the guidance and inputs of the NGO mentors and village stakeholders will be crucial.

During the visit, student work on three person teams with a student from the United States or Sweden, a graduate student from India, and an early career development professional from India. Within their team, students share responsibilities related to translation, survey design, reporting, etc. Each team member brings a unique skill set to the investigation.  Students can expect to live in a rural homestay or in their NGO's local housing accommodation. A majority of the field placements are in villages outside of Udaipur, but there is also the possibility of being placed in a urban field placement within the city limits of Udaipur.

Sample Project Proposals:

  • Animal Agriculture Support System - Team proposed a system for income development by teaching skills related to agricultural upkeep and animal management techniques to support livelihoods and sustainable agriculture.
  • Engaging men in family planning outreach - Team proposed a project to expand the training, incentives, and monitoring and evaluation for an NGO's family planning program. The proposed training would use the constructive male engagement framework: "men as clients, men as partners, and men as agents of change".
  • Strengthening Women's Institutions - Team proposed project for a village-resident-led platform to discuss and address social and resource issues. The project includes a training module aimed to increase women's interest and desire for addressing community issues as a collective.

student team gathered local residents under a huge shady tree

This photo depicts a student team gathered with local residents. The group is working together to create a social map of the area, which will become part of the "needs assessment" component of the students’ project proposal.