Field Method in Anthropology and International Development

This unit involves an international field trip to Monash Malaysia and provides students with formal and applied training in qualitative and ethnographic field research methods. The unit consists of a two-week stay in Malaysia. This includes a field site visit, which students will work with the Australian-based unit coordinator, local staff members from the School of Arts and Social Sciences and the South East Asian Community Observatory (SEACO) to conduct small-scale research projects, gather data in the field, analyse the data and present their findings. Students are provided sufficient and necessary briefings and introductory presentations by the academic staff at Monash Malaysia, and toward the end of their stay, they will be part of data analysis and debriefing workshops. In this briefing, students also learn about the socio-economy and development of Malaysia, and the districts in which they will conduct their research project. They will engage with the ethical issues of field research in regional areas in Malaysia. Students will also learn about the aims, objectives and research methods of the research platform in which their field project is situated.

IssueTitleView Report
01Why parents choose: An ethnographic studyinto the factors affecting school choice in peninsular MalaysiaClick here
02A Study of Local Livelihoods:Using the Sustainable Livelihoods ApproachClick here
03Geo-ethnography in Segamat: Mapping Health Services and Understanding Choice in a Pluralistic SystemClick here
04Investigating Local Understandings of Cardiovascular DiseaseClick here
05Mitigation & adaptation to floods in Malaysia. A study on community perceptions and responses to urban flooding in Segamat.Click here
06The confinement period for Malay mothers: postpartum practices and adapting traditionsClick here
07“Always antibiotics”: Journeys of parental treatment-seeking in Segamat, MalaysiaClick here

What students say

“The relationship that SEACO has built with the Segamat community cannot be understated. A deep trust between SEACO and the wider Segamat community has been woven together and built over time through mutual understanding and respect, with a shared goal of creating healthier and happier lives and livelihoods amongst and within the broader Segamat community. This was so clearly evident that each member of the community SEACO organised for us to speak to was immediately open, willing, and generous with their time, story, and self. The SEACO team members through their exceptional work ethic, and phenomenal individual staff, deserve every bit of credit, recognition, and gratitude that can be given to them. Words do not do justice to the work, effort, and dedication SEACO has to and for Segamat district.”

— Jack Clancy, 2022

"We're so happy with this experience! I can't think of any practical way to improve it. Perfect balance of friendly and professional."

— Katelyn, 2019

"My experience of conducting field research in Malaysia in partnership with SEACO went beyond my expectations. It was a perfect blend of fun and learning. The staff at SEACO were extremely helpful and their radiant passion helped the entire group stay motivated. They were the backbone of the research, from managing community relationships to introducing us to the local cuisine."

— Aakansha Kedia, 2017

"Participating in Field Method in Anthropology and International Development with SEACO has been the highlight of my university experience to date. This is thanks to the immense professionalism and courteous nature in which the SEACO staff conducted themselves. SEACO’s vast data collection is validated through the systematic checks and balances the staff employ when gathering information. The staff at SEACO went above and beyond to ensure my peers and I were able to effectively engage with community members in Segamat, Malaysia. Additionally, the friendly and outgoing nature of the SEACO staff made our fieldwork immensely enjoyable. From community engagement, to translational work, to data collection, SEACO and its staff have fostered invaluable relationships within the communities it researches in.  Such an environment allows for researchers to directly engage with community members and collect valuable medical and anthropological data to contribute towards specific research topics."

— Joseph Griffin, 2016

"Field Methods in Anthropology and International Development – Monash University’s partnership with SEACO provides an incredible opportunity to incorporate developmental learnings in the classroom and apply these skills in a practical real time environment. SEACO’s local knowledge and community network were critical in engaging and mobilizing resources to undertake field work. The SEACO staff were incredibly passionate and supportive of ensuring our project time was successful, rewarding and memorable."

— Liza Coffey, 2016