Taking note: a kaleidoscopic view on two, or three, modes of fieldnoting

Janne Flora*, Astrid Oberborbeck Andersen

*Corresponding author

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


In this article we examine what can be captured, recorded, remembered, and shared through different note-taking modalities. The case narrated is one of a simultaneous fieldwork experience carried out as part of a larger interdisciplinary project in Greenland. It reveals how the same situation is recorded differently in our respective notebooks; and that the way we write fieldnotes is not just determined by the anthropologists, but also by the field. We present three kinds of fieldnotes from the same day, produced partly by writing/not writing in notebooks, and by using handheld GPS devices that map activities related to hunting and travel. We suggest that our fieldnotes may best be understood as fragments, details and contexts. Although our fieldnotes may add up an entirety, they cannot represent a complete whole. Together, these fragments are mosaic configurations rather than complete or coherent sets of registered events and situations that come together kaleidoscopically.
Original languageEnglish
JournalQualitative Research
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)540-559
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • collaboration
  • fieldnotes
  • GPS
  • Greenland
  • hunting
  • method

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