In Lombok we were working in groups of five and six driving around to different parts of island each day so that we covered four districts. We would then go out and either have prearranged interviews or just ask random persons if we could interview them. This method represented an important learning process as we had not agreed on what questions we would ask, and we had not tested the questions before going out in the field. People also had different degrees of experience from none to some when it came to interviewing people for research purposes. None of the participants had experience interviewing with interpreters.
It is important when interviewing with interpreters to be aware that the information might be lost in translation, having a different meaning from what was intended. The interpreters were from Mataram University and most of them were experienced and had followed other groups on Lombok from earlier years.
In Flores we were divided into five groups of four to five people, staying with a catholic priest in five different villages spread on the south and east part of Flores. Before we were divided into groups we created an interview guide which would narrow down the focus for our interviews. We were still free to formulate our own questions but the topics were more inflexible.
We mostly experienced that this was working better for us, both because people had experience from Lombok, and because there was something to be guided by. The interpreters here were also mostly experienced with their roles.
In Java we changed our methods significantly, in our homestay we did not interview people, and instead we were set to observe the families we were staying with. This was our least successful part of the research. Though we ended up to some degree experiencing what it is like to live in a small village in Java, we felt that the families were changing their daily routines because we were visiting them.
Because the stay was so short it is difficult to say to what degree everyday life was disrupted. We could not come home and say how much these people work, but we can say something about what kind of work they actually do. We were also shown part of their culture.