Understanding Emotional Experience in Fieldwork: Responding to Grief in a Northern Aboriginal Village

  • Edward J. Hedican University of Guelph


In this article, the author explores the experiential aspects of ethnographic fieldwork, especially in terms of a fieldworker’s emotional response to the hardships faced by local people. He presents an ethnographic example concerning fieldwork in a northern Canadian Aboriginal village that evoked an intense emotional reaction from him. He explores this reaction in the context of the epistemological implications of emotional experience in qualitative research and argues that such introspection is a necessary yet understudied component of exploring subjectivity in ethnographic fieldwork.