Unit VIII The Worlds of Work and Play
Lesson 1 On the Job

Occupational Fieldwork Survey

Make sure you have permission to be an observer at a work site. As you observe a work situation, use this sheet to jot notes about any of these topics that arise. Later, when you conduct an interview, ask what these topics mean to the interviewee, and what other topics they might add to yours. What's the story behind the scenes at this work site? Use another copy of this worksheet to record your edited, refined fieldnotes or as a template to design your own fieldwork survey or final report. Do any responses relate specifically to the region or the state where you are conducting your research? Use the Occupational Fieldwork Checklist to prepare for your project and stay on track.


Name of Student Observer/Interviewer

Occupation or work observed

Place (address, parish)

Circumstances (time, season, location, weather, setting)




Names and contact information for any interviewees









Look for and ask about the following:

Overall workspace arrangement and decoration


Individual workspace arrangement and decoration


Terms or special language


Equipment, gear, clothing


Gestures, body language


Special techniques, skills, practices


Formal training required


Tricks of the trade and training learned traditionally by observation and imitation and from colleagues on the job


Lines of authority


Roles of men, women, children, age groups


Spatial relations, movement patterns (sketch and later make a map)






Jokes, humor, pranks


Stories (for example, what were some funny, hard, good, or dangerous experiences)


Beliefs, good luck charms, omens


Initiation of newcomers


Aspects interviewee considers unique


Aspects student considers might be unique to Louisiana




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