14.29: Field Research

Your Hosts: Brandon, Mary Robinette, Margaret, and Howard

So, you’re going to go someplace and learn something you can’t learn in any other way. Maybe it’s location research for setting. Maybe you’re off to interview an expert. Whatever you’re planning, you need to be planning it well. In this episode we discuss the field research we’ve done, how we went about it, and how we might do it differently.

Credits: This episode was recorded by Dan Thompson, and mastered by Alex Jackson 

EPISODE ORDER NOTE: As of this writing, episode 14.28’s web-sized audio file isn’t ready. We’ll run it next week, and eventually swap the dates to get 14.29 and 14.28 in the right order.


Take photos of a place that’s new to you. Write descriptions from those photos.

PBS Spacetime, by Gabe Perez-Giz and Matthew O’Dowd

(Here’s Howard’s PBS Spacetime Chronological playlist, which is current through June of 2018)

4 thoughts on “14.29: Field Research”

  1. The M&M quartet, Brandon, Mary Robinette, Margaret, and Howard, talked about field research, getting out and experiencing visceral sensory details. Watch out for Howard’s realm, the unknown unknowns that can turn one question into 100 questions. Watch out for little sensory details, like smoky mildew, that can build a larger reality. Read all about it, the sights, the sounds, the smells, and the feelings, in the transcript available now in the archives.

  2. Aww, I thought it was a ‘subliminal’ message about paying attention to your surroundings when in the field, but I’ve just found the EON.

  3. When you spoke about smells, it made me think of a dear friend of mine who seriously lacks a sense of smell and the time we went on a cross-country road trip together. When we visited a Casino in Nevada for the first time I remember telling her, “Just so you get the full experience, it reeks of stale cigarette smoke in here.”

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