Sustainicum Collection

Consus The aim of the project is to establish a regional science-society network for sustainability innovations in Albania and Kosovo in order to strengthen the connection and collaboration of institutions in the field of higher education, research and practice.

Resource facts

  • 11 to 30 students
  • Up to 3 lecture units
    4-7 lecture units
    up to 1 semester
    more than 1 semester
  • Internet connection necessary
  • English

Resource Description

Fieldwork(Resource ID: 51)

Fieldwork is a vital and valuable group exercise that can be used to facilitate education for sustainable development. The basic procedures involved in carrying out fieldwork are to identify the area of interest, locate a suitable place to visit and to analyse the data obtained using suitable statistical strategies to interpret the findings of the research. Participants are provided with an opportunity to develop their cognitive and affective learning while working together as a group. Fieldwork aids motivation and self-development as the participants are required to demonstrate responsibility and behave in a professional manner. Fieldwork provides an opportunity for students to be creative and gives them a sense of ownership over their learning. It enhances learning by providing participants with opportunities to practice skills of enquiry and problem solving in everyday situations. This sensory experience to learning aids memory and meta-cognition. In addition, practical skills gained are essential in connecting theory learned within the classroom to real life situations.

There are typically three stages involved in Fieldwork: pre-field stage, field stage and post-field stage. All three stages are guided by the facilitator, who should be well organised and knowledgeable in the area under investigation, provide clear expectations of the participants and ensure the participants take an active role in the process.


Pre-field stage:

-          Define the aims and objectives of the fieldwork.

-          Create a list of stakeholders who could be involved in the fieldwork.


The facilitator should select a course study region that is in close proximity to the Institution, has sustainability initiatives present and possible challenges. Taking participants on fieldwork requires careful planning of the learning outcomes that are to be achieved and attention to possible health and safety risks. Facilitators need to familiarise themselves with the policies in place for conducting fieldwork in their particular institution. It is advisable that the facilitator has developed clear objectives of the learning experience, collected the appropriate equipment, pre-visits the site, decides on a date to go to the field and mode of transport. It is the responsibility of the facilitator to identify any potential risks to the participants and to manage them appropriately. Students should research the relevant literature prior to departure.

Field stage:

-    Participants should actively be involved in a real life practical investigation.

-  Participants should ensure they achieve the objectives set out prior to fieldwork.

-  Participants should obey health and safety guidelines at all times.

Post-field stage:

-   Gather the data obtained from the group work and identify of possible ways the data could be analysed.

In small groups or individually present the findings using graphs/charts and supporting literature. In their groups participants should identify constraints and barriers of the area under examination and suggest potential stakeholders that could get involved in the development/improvement of the investigated area.

Type of teaching method
  • Brain storming
  • Discussion / debate
  • Simulation
  • Reflection
  • Creative method
Preparation Efforts Description
The facilitator of the fieldwork should provide participants with relevant documents and information on the particular area under investigation (such as census profiles, land use plans, official community plans). Possible stakeholder groups should also be discussed using case studies. Any materials/equipment required for the fieldwork should be gathered and stored appropriately for the fieldwork
Related Teaching Resources
To ensure the fieldwork is carried out safely, the facilitator must have visited the site and is aware of any potential risks involved. The facilitator should provide relevant documents and literature to participants prior to the fieldwork so participants are well informed ensuring better understanding of what they need to be looking for.
Necessary documents / materials


Integration of stakeholders
Participants could be introduced to a wide range of stakeholders prior to carrying out the fieldwork such as electoral area directors; business operators working in diverse sectors such as accommodations and arts and culture; farmers; community volunteers; leaders of diverse non-profit organisations. Bringing in such an individual could add huge value to the grounding of the topic within the local development discourse. Stakeholders could also be involved during the fieldwork stage for example giving tours of organic farms, walkabouts in newly designated community gardens, formalised boardroom meetings, and gatherings in local restaurants, business establishments and their homes.
Situations appropriate for this method
The activity’s relevance to sustainability is strong, as the topics discussed will incorporate numerous aspects of development and sustainability (geographical, urban or rural planning, social aspects). Participants should be better equipped and informed to carry out future fieldwork in other subject areas.
Strengths of the method
-Allows students to be exposed to new environments in order to increase their depth of understanding
-Hands-on experience that is critical for skill development
-Links to the theory being studied
-Direct involvement and responsibility of their own learning
-Encourages students to appreciate diverse landscapes and helps to recognise the importance of conserving and preserving the environment
-Enables the knowledge to be truly embedded
-Demonstrates relevance

The intended learning outcomes are to enable the participants to better understand the complexities of sustainability and innovation at the local/regional level. The activity allows the participants to experience relevant situations first hand from a variety of different perspectives which is vital for their development. Further, it encourages active learning and creativity in investigating real world situations.
Weaknesses of the method
-May be difficult to locate a suitable area close to the Institution
-Need to have suitable weather conditions
-Difficult to work around student timetable, for example if the class are leaving the University for the day it must not affect other lecturers’ material that they have to cover
Assessment / evaluation
Fieldwork could be assessed by submitting a report of the findings or delivering the findings through a group presentation using PowerPoint. Participants could create a digital story about the three stages involved; pre-field stage, field stage and post-field stage. To evaluate the fieldwork activity, class discussions or debates could be organised.
Sources and Links

UNESCO, (2010). Teaching and learning for a sustainable future, a multimedia teacher education programme. Available


Funded by
This teaching resource, realised within the project ConSus, has been funded with the support of the TEMPUS of the European Union. The contents reflect the views of the authors, and the European Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

Comments Write Comment


Audrey O’Grady
This teaching resource is allocated to following University:
UL - University of Limerick
University of Limerick


Creative Commons

Type of teaching method

  • Brain storming
  • Discussion / debate
  • Simulation
  • Reflection