Once student groups have created their guiding questions and predictions, the instructor should lead the class in identifying necessary components of a field investigation plan. The class and instructor may brainstorm ideas for minimum required components in the plan and synthesize those components on the board or screen, or the minimum required components can be provided by the instructor in a handout. The final list needs to include, at a minimum: field planning software
- Guiding question and predictions
- Assigned data collectors
- A copy of the protocols to be used
- A base map of the area
- A table for data entry
- A schedule, and
- A place to record field conditions (weather conditions, traffic, topography, etc.)
The instructor should guide the discussion through questioning the class in order to ensure these elements are included. If appropriate, the instructor should prompt the students to consider variations in field plan components based on the study’s guiding questions.
The instructor will direct the groups to develop their field plans and to select potential study areas that make sense given their guiding questions. Students should be encouraged to select study areas near or within the campus. Depending on their group’s guiding question, students may choose to select two areas in which to collect sensory data for later comparison. During this time, the groups may also need to revisit their data collection protocols. Each group will have 20–25 minutes to develop draft plans that identify field duties and assign responsibilities according to field investigation plan outline.
One of the required elements is to have a base map of the area. The base map should be an aerial image or the floor plan of a building. If the room has access to computers and printers, the groups should use an online mapping resources (such as Google Maps, Yahoo Maps, Google Earth, or MapQuest) to locate their study area and print out an aerial image to use during the fieldwork. The instructor may guide students through this process. If the previous course content has not included any instruction on spatial interpretation or mapping, the instructor may wish to introduce some basic concepts here (see mapmaking resources at the bottom of the page).
As teams are completing this task, the instructor should ask each team to revisit its guiding question to ensure that executing the field plan will help the team address this question.
Field plan review and revision (20 min)
When the groups have developed their plans, each group will post its plans on the wall of the room, and the class will have 10 minutes for a gallery walk. Post-its should be used to place comments and suggestions on each group’s plan, and students may be provided with an assessment rubric listing the required and optional elements (at a minimum, the instructor should complete a rubric for each group). Each group will have 10 minutes to review the gallery walk comments and finalize its plans. (The instructor should monitor group progress and may wrap up the plan development phase early, if appropriate. The extra time can be used for the gallery walk or revisions.)
Each group will submit its final plans and, if applicable, amended data collection protocols to the instructor prior to completing the fieldwork (either in class or electronically). The instructor should look over the plans quickly before the students begin work to identify any concerns not addressed after the gallery walk.
Students will have between one and two weeks to complete their fieldwork. The time for completion should include at least one weekend. Additional suggestions are provided below.