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Understanding and Using Health ExperiencesImproving patient care$
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Sue Ziebland, Angela Coulter, Joseph D. Calabrese, and Louise Locock

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199665372

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199665372.001.0001

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Ethnographic approaches to health experiences research

Ethnographic approaches to health experiences research

(p.16) Chapter 3 Ethnographic approaches to health experiences research
Understanding and Using Health Experiences

Joseph D. Calabrese

Oxford University Press

Clinical Ethnography: Ethnographic Approaches to Health Experiences Research. This chapter introduces ethnographic (participant observation) approaches to study of health experiences. Ethnographers studying health experiences immerse themselves in sociocultural contexts of illness and treatment for prolonged fieldwork periods to collect descriptive data and form an understanding of local culture and embodied experience. They pay close attention to insiders’ views in natural contexts and go for a depth of understanding rather than large sample sizes. This chapter discusses the origins of ethnography in the anthropological study of small scale societies and the subsequent application of the approach in hospitals and other medical settings. The chapter will discuss strengths of the approach (e.g. that it takes into account what people do as well as what they say and allows us to discover new information) as well as limitations (e.g. that it is time consuming and requires a special personal commitment by the researcher).

Keywords:   Clinical Ethnography, participant observation, fieldwork, Medical Anthropology, culture, sociocultural context

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