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This project explores issues around the practice of fieldwork related activity which is undertaken as a teaching and learning methodology in third-level education. The main focus in this project is to glean best practice examples from colleagues who undertake fieldwork in the broad area of Tourism education (encompassing hospitality, leisure and event management), but also related disciplines of Geography and Business/Management. Having initially scoped out the available literature and explored the topic in strategic interviews with colleagues (Irish and international), it appeared that very little work has been undertaken heretofore on the particular angle being investigated – that of planning and managing fieldwork. A reasonably solid body of work exists on the learning outcomes of fieldwork (albeit very descriptive and focused on individual iterations – see Bibliography), but very little material has emerged related to the management of such activity. In order to commence a dialogue on this topic, an online survey was administered, with a range of closed and open-ended questions. In total 152 usable surveys were returned, with 45% of respondents from Ireland, the remainder being from 29 different countries. Overall, the project finds that educators who use fieldwork as a teaching tool are very enthusiastic about the practice and think deeply about the pedagogical value of this activity. However there are many concerns in evidence, ranging from health and safety, financing of trips, to the amount of additional time that is required to plan and manage such trips. This project has merely opened the doors for a discussion, but the enthusiasm of respondents and their desire to engage with any future action suggests that a rich vein of research has just begun.
Griffin, K. Determining “best practice” methodologies in the pedagogy of tourism related fieldwork. DIT, Learning,Teaching & Technology Centre, 2013.