Social Research Glossary


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Citation reference: Harvey, L., 2012-20, Social Research Glossary, Quality Research International,

This is a dynamic glossary and the author would welcome any e-mail suggestions for additions or amendments. Page updated 19 December, 2019 , © Lee Harvey 2012–2020.


A fast-paced novel of conjecture and surprises



core definition

Field in social research refers to the setting in which the research is undertaken.

explanatory context

When field research involves direct observation, in-depth interviews, etc. it is referred to as fieldwork.


A field in information technology refers to a category in a file record. It is a cell in a database. A single field (or data item) contains the value of a specific attribute of an entity occurrence (or data item value).


Field also refers to field of study, or subject discipline.

analytical review

The McGraw-Hill (2004) Sociological Theory site Glossary defines 'field' as:

A network of relations among the objective positions in a social situation. (Bourdieu)

associated issues


related areas

See also

Researching the Real World Section 3


McGraw-Hill, 2004, Sociological Theory: Glossary , available at, accessed 14 May 2013, page not available 20 December 2016.

copyright Lee Harvey 2012–2020


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