The purpose of having you collect folklore for a class assignment is to provide you with firsthand experience with how folklore is identified, collected and archived. The activity will deepen your acquaintance with your personal living culture and make you aware of the many folklore forms that surround you.
The Fife Folklore Archives accepts two main types of collecting projects: single item and focused. Single item projects give students the freedom to collect varied genres of folklore from different folk groups, while focused projects are united around a theme (a particular genre, folk group, mode of transmission, or subject). The following page will give you guidelines for both types of collecting projects. Your instructor may also provide you with additional information.
The reason you are required to document your collected folklore in these specific formats is that along with being a lab for student instruction of folklore, the fieldwork conducted in USU's folklore classes also serves as a large body of research (spanning both time and space) that is used by scholars all over the world. Keeping the materials consistent in content and form helps researchers find, compare and contrast, and analyze the data.
You may collect from strangers, acquaintances, relatives, the internet, or yourself. Folklorists Lynne McNeill and Randy Williams call this the point of discovery (POD): the person or place where you encounter folklore in your life. It can be exciting to use this project as way to find folklore you have never encountered before, however, often the best place to start is with people, settings, and traditions already familiar to you. Release forms are required. The materials that you collect, unless otherwise noted on your collection, will be archived at the Fife Folklore Archives, Special Collections & Archives, Utah State University Libraries. Go to the USU Folklore Homepage for more information about the Utah State University Folklore Program.