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The Survey: Use of fieldwork publications

Fig 9
Figure 9: Bar chart showing number of fieldwork publications respondents have read during the 12 months prior to the survey (Q3.1)

Most respondents (75%) use 150 published fieldwork reports in the course of the year, with 18% saying that they use over 51. Only 3% said that they do not use any at all. The use made of 'grey literature' fieldwork publications is much less. 28% said that they only used 15 such publications and 12% did not use any at all. Twelve per cent of the sample did not answer the question, suggesting a high level of unfamiliarity with the genre (Fig 9).

Breakdown of these figures by constituency indicates much greater variation (Fig 10). A higher proportion of contractors, specialists, archaeologists working for national bodies, and postgraduate students use more than 11 fieldwork publications per year than the other constituencies listed. In contrast, a far greater proportion of independent archaeologists, university staff and museum archaeologists use only 110 published fieldwork reports. Variation is even more striking in relation to grey literature (Fig 11). Only contractors, consultants, archaeologists working for national bodies, and local government archaeologists use more than 11 reports a year in significant numbers. These results convincingly demonstrate that grey literature reports have a limited audience beyond the contractorial and curatorial domains in which they are produced.

Fig 10
Figure 10: Graph showing variation in use of published fieldwork reports across selected constituencies (Q3.1)

Fig 11
Figure 11: Graph showing variation in use of 'grey literature' fieldwork reports across selected constituencies (Q3.1)

University staff, postgraduate students and museum archaeologists consult published fieldwork reports as frequently as, for instance, contractors and those in local government, and yet the former group tends not to use as many such publications as the latter. This suggests that university staff, postgraduates and museum archaeologists are making more regular (and perhaps more intensive) use of a smaller number of fieldwork reports, than other constituencies. It could be argued that this is to be expected of constituencies which are traditionally involved in synthesising the results of archaeological fieldwork in relation to research questions. However, if this is the case then it also appears that constituencies in the academic sphere are less acquainted with the results of a broad range of projects than those working in constituencies where a greater number of publications are consulted frequently.

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