The fieldwork experience in South Tel-Aviv has remained the central feature of the Glocal Qualitative Research Methods course since 2015. This year, teams of 4-6 students spent two days conducting pilot research with refugee and asylum-seeker community South Tel-Aviv. In preparation, student groups were matched with local “hosts” (individuals or organizations), and/or were assigned public spaces in which to conduct participant observation. Students received intensive training on appropriate research methods with vulnerable communities, and each student submitted an individual research question prior to the research trip for my approval.
This year was our biggest research trip to date: 32 students working with 8 organizations or individuals and 3 observation sites. Organizations this year included: The ARDC, Kuchinate, Pesia’s Kitchen, two kindergartens in S. Tel-Aviv serving refugee children, Ani Shlishi, and The Schoolhouse. The students felt they learned a substantial amount about interviewing, observation, documentation and research teamwork in a short period of time. Those who were not familiar with the refugee population in Tel-Aviv were exposed, first-hand, to a national social issue, often from the perspective of the refugees themselves. Others, who were already familiar with the issue, gained new insights through interviews and conversations and were reminded how close this population is to their life in Tel-Aviv, yet hidden in plain sight. The trip not only provided experience with qualitative methods, but also for the cohort to spend intensive time together in an intensive research “retreat.” Most interviewees had a direct connection to Glocal alumni, as our community network continues to grow and deepen.