Writing a report of the work carried on in the field is a documentation of the field work. This helps in systematic reviewing of the work by students who accomplished the task and a reference for future field trips. Field reports must be short, clear and informative with supportive data, maps, sketches, photographs etc.
There are a number of steps involved in report writing. They are:
Identify the topic of investigation which is the purpose of field work. This is the title of the work and it has to be written in bold letters at the top of the report.
Every report should start with a brief introduction to the subject under study. It should explain what part of geography it relates to. For example if the study is about a stream, it falls under the branch of physical geography, more specifically geomorphology - an exogenetic agent of denudation. The time frame that was planned for the fieldwork can be elaborated. If the field work is extending for more than one day, then a clear timetable should be given.
The reason why the field work is undertaken can be mentioned. This explains the need for the field work.
Details of the study area are explained here – starting with the absolute or geographical location of the study area, the choice of the study area and the physiography of the area. Other known physical and cultural details of the study area can be mentioned here. A copy of the map, satellite image etc. can be incorporated here.
The methods used to carry out the field work have to be mentioned here. The method of information collection varies according to the type of study. It could be through observation, investigation, measurements; data collection from primary and secondary sources; field sketches, audio-video recording and photographs and GNSS surveys.
The data collected through field work should be presented in a simple way for easy analysis. The method of representation of data should be according to the method of data collected. Example: 1. If observation method is used in data collection then the data can be represented as photographs or field sketches. 2. If data is collected through surveys, it can be represented as a plan or map. 3. Data collected from secondary sources can be presented as tables, graphs, diagrams or charts. 4. Data collected through GNSS surveys can be mapped.
The data represented in various forms have to be neatly labeled and indexed for easy identification and understanding. The photographs, diagrams, tables, maps etc. prepared during post field work have to be arranged in a sequential order so that they can provide an answer to the purpose of study and add more meaning and value to the report of work done in the field.
The conclusion gives the gist of the field work – the aim, the results or findings and how it relates to existing knowledge and the addition of new knowledge through this field work. The conclusion has to present how the fieldwork has enhanced the theoretical knowledge gained in the class.
The table below gives a few steps in the preparation of field report for a few case studies under physical geography.
1. Measure your school’s play ground and draw a plan of the same.
2. Arrange a field trip to a River line area study the land, direction of flow of water, trees and other plants in the area. Make a field sketch and prepare a short report.
3. Measure the daily temperature at 11.00 am and 4.00 pm and find the monthly average of maximum and minimum temperature.
4. Plan a field visit to a nearby hilly area study the slope, gradient, trees and other plants in that area. Prepare a field sketch of the same and write a short report.