I plan to enter graduate school (MA+PhD) in September 2018, which means I have something of a ‘gap year situation’ ahead of me [not in a strict sense, as I’ve been working for a number of years now]. I want to use this unstructured time ahead the best way I can.

If you were in my position, how would you spend these spare 12 months before grad school officially begins and the clock starts ticking? How would you prepare for what’s ahead, what would you focus on?

It goes without saying that I have already given these questions a lot of careful consideration, but I’m very curious to learn how others would approach this topic; especially, current PhD candidates, postdocs, and lecturers/professors. Knowing what you now know, if you could go back, how would you spend a spare year like that?

Some background:

  • My field is social/cultural anthropology.
  • My ultimate goal (grad school and beyond) is to prepare a CV and a research portfolio, which will aid me in launching an academic career in Europe.
  • I have a BA in anthropology and an unrelated MA,
  • I currently freelance (unrelated field); I have plenty of spare time, and can arrange my schedule in whatever way I see fit.
  • I live in a mid-size European city (not a capital); can’t move anywhere this year, but can likely do some limited traveling.
  • There’s a small anthropology department here, but I’m not affiliated with it, and never was. My degree is from the US.
  • I can speak the local language fairly well.
  • The grad school (next year) will be in a different county, and learning the new language will be one of my key objectives this year. The language of instruction will be English, however.

Note: Not sure if I made this clear, but I’m not looking for suggestions such as “travel for fun,” or “get a new hobby.” I want to use these 12 months in the most productive way possible.

In response to feedback from comments: I would like the advice focused on: setting myself up to do outstanding work in grad school and beyond (postdocs, etc). I am not concerned with the “getting into grad school” part here.

I wish to live with an indigenous tribe or 3 months, to study their culture and answer an almost independent dissertation question, under said cultural Anthropology. I would like to know the best way to find out if my research question has been answered, how can I do that without an advisor from a university? Is there a database, or what routes could I go down to find out/which is best.

Thanks for your time to answer.

Numerous posts on this site address anonymous or pseudonymous publication, but not anonymous or pseudonymous fieldwork.

There plausibly exist situations in which a researcher undertaking fieldwork would have to conceal their own identity from non-researchers they encounter in the field, in order to protect themselves or the research project. Here are some possible scenarios:

  • Previous research has shown that the community under study deviates from its normal behaviour when it knows a researcher is present.

  • The researcher would be in danger if their profession or identity were known to people in the field.

  • The researcher plans to publish anonymously or pseudonymously, and would otherwise risk being “outed” by people encountered in the field.

What are some good sources on research ethics that discuss protocols for handling such cases?

Can you provide any published examples describing such fieldwork?

Good morning,
My name is Gretel Echazú, I am an Argentinian anthropologist who researched in Brazil, Argentina and Peru. I got my PhD in anthropology with an investigation linked to health, race and gender issues in the Peruvian Amazon. I have a Post-Doctoral scholarship at a Federal University here in Natal, Northeastern Brazil. I´ve thought online once, for a plataform linked to ethnobotany. To make my work experience wider, I would love to start teaching online as an adjunct professor. I see that the majority of job offers come from US institutions that ask for “proof of authorization” to work in the US. I wander if it is possible for me to teach online from Brazil to create materials for institutions that are in the US.
Same question would go for European academic settings.
Thank you very much.
Gretel