We have just now come back to Cape Coast after three weeks of doing field research in villages spread around the region. Our class was divided into seven groups going to seven different villages. Many groups were placed in villages along the coast, and some of us were placed in villages further into the country. My group of four was placed in a small village called Brofo, a long way from the coast. The village had somewhere between 2000-5000 habitants, depending on who you asked. Still, it didn’t really feel like a village of this size – it felt quite small.

We arrived at our hotel, a fifteen minute walk from the village, and unpacked before we met the staff. During the first weekend there, we met with our translator and with the elders of the community. As the village Chief lives out of the country, it was the elders who had to give us permission to do field research in the village. We also walked around with our translator and the hotel manager, who quickly also became our guide and helper.

In the beginning of our time there, we were still trying to navigate what subtopics we wanted to research and how we wanted to go about this. Our main topic was poverty. First, we wanted to look at water shortage and access to toilets, as we’d read online that this was a problem there. However, upon arrival, we discovered that there wasn’t really a water shortage, or at least, not a big issue regarding this. We tried looking more into the lack of toilets but ended up researching education in relation to poverty.

As for research methods, we interviewed several key informants, had many semi-structured interviews, did two focus groups, and conducted a hundred questionaries. We usually did research from seven to ten in the mornings, before it got too hot and before people went to their farms. Sometimes, we also went back to the village in the afternoons, but we also spent a lot of time transcribing and working through the data we collected.

We got breakfast and dinner at the hotel. Alle groups were served this. For lunch, we had to arrange this ourselves. I brough packs of instant noodles. The only problem with this was that we often had power outages during the day, when I wanted to boil water, so it didn’t always work out. Most times it was ok.

Some of my biggest takeaways from our time doing field research is how intricate the connection between poverty and education is. It was so interesting looking into this, and I wish we had more time to dive deeper, but I am very happy we got the opportunity to live in a village community for as long as three weeks.

After some time there, people knew our names and came to talk to us whenever they saw us. We also came and left the village around the same time every morning, so a lot of people became part of our morning routine of saying hallo to the same people along our route into the village.


I definitely recommend this course for the purpose of this field experience! It is such a great opportunity.

– Nathalie