A field review is defined as a period in which a qualified individual (engineers in our case) studies a location of interest with the intention of performing qualitative observations and assessing the existing conditions. In other words, think of a field review as a professional field trip! Within the field of engineering, field reviews provide invaluable insight into the study location’s surroundings, local population, existing conditions, people’s patterns/preferences among a variety of other qualitative observations. Nearly every project or study within the field of engineering requires a field review. However, during any typical expedition the reviewer may encounter difficult situations and may not know how to immediately deal with them. This short How To guide (based on real life examples) will exemplify typical field review encounters and how to properly deal with them.
The Curious Bystander: Humans are naturally curious! “Who are you? Why are you here? What are you doing here?” are typical questions that locals will direct towards you. Therefore, if you are approached and questioned, we recommend the following: Answer them! As engineers we serve the public and always have their best intentions in mind. State who you are, why the study is being performed and what you are observing. These stakeholders may even provide valuable information!
The Upset Bystander: Pedestrians at times do not want to be in field review photographs or recordings and will demand for these to be deleted. If you are approached and presented with this field review encounter, we recommend the following: Deescalate the situation! In a calm and polite manner inform the bystander of who you are and the purpose of your study. Afterwards, assure the pedestrian that this documentation is for engineering usage only and will not be used in any way to defame them. Additionally, (if applicable) only use the photographs/recordings for internal purposes and reassure them that these will not be showcased in your report or to the public and will be intended for internal use only. As a final measure, ask if they would be willing to temporarily relocate themselves so a new picture can be taken and assure them that the previous picture will be deleted.
Law Enforcement: Police Officers, Crossing Guards and other officials are critical members of the community and will most likely have insider knowledge of the study location. Therefore, if you are performing a field review and a law enforcement official is present, we recommend the following: Talk to them! These are key community stakeholders that will almost always provide insightful information on the community’s trends or patterns which may not be present at the moment. Additionally, these individuals will usually be able to identify other deficiencies or problems that may be plaguing the community!
Stay in tune for the next How To segment!
By Lorenzo Fuchs, EI & Jessica Garcia, EI