Peter Krause and Ora Szekely, “Stories from the Field: A Guide to Navigating Fieldwork in Political Science” (Columbia UP, 2020)

How do researchers navigate the complexities of the field? In Stories from the Field: A Guide to Navigating Fieldwork in Political Science (Columbia UP, 2020), political scientists from a diverse range of biographical and academic backgrounds describe their research experiences in North and South America, Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East, ranging from archival work to interviews with combatants. In sharing their stories, the book’s forty-four contributors provide accessible illustrations of methods like conducting surveys and interviews, practical questions of health and safety, and general principles such as the importance of flexibility, creativity, and interpersonal connections.

Peter Krause is Associate Professor of Political Science at Boston College and Research Affiliate with the MIT Security Studies Program. He is the author of Rebel Power: Why National Movements Compete, Fight, and Win (Cornell University Press, 2017), co-editor with Kelly Greenhill of Coercion: The Power to Hurt in International Politics (Oxford University Press, 2018), and co-editor with Ora Szekely of Stories from the Field: An Unorthodox Guide to Fieldwork (New York: Columbia University Press, 2020). His research focuses on Middle East politics, terrorism and political violence, and nationalism and revolution. His current book project analyzes which rebel groups take power ‘the day after’ regime change.

Ora Szekely is Associate Professor of Political Science at Clark University. Her research focuses on the politics, behavior, and ideologies of armed groups in the Middle East, including ideologies of gender and the relationship between propaganda and violence against civilians. In addition to co-editing Stories from the Field: A Guide to Navigating Fieldwork in Political Science (2020), she is the co-author of Insurgent Women (2019), and the author of The Politics of Militant Group Survival in the Middle East (2016) and a forthcoming book about the civil war in Syria. Her research is based on fieldwork across the Middle East.

Aditya Srinivasan assisted with this episode.

Lamis Abdelaaty is an assistant professor of political science at the Maxwell School of Syracuse University. She is the author of Discrimination and Delegation: Explaining State Responses to Refugees (Oxford University Press, 2021). Email her comments at or tweet to @LAbdelaaty.

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