Manual Ethnographies of Social Support

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She subsequently held research positions at the Universities of Dundee and Glasgow examining the impact of financial incentives on UK general practice organisation and culture before being awarded a Medical Research Council MRC Population Health Scientist Postdoctoral Fellowship from Suzanne is a medical anthropologist and her research is located at the interface between anthropology, medicine and healthcare safety and quality. The overarching aim of her work is to improve understandings of safety, risk, wellbeing and dignity within and across healthcare organisational contexts through research that is both methodologically innovative and theoretically engaged.

Drawing on insights from social and medical anthropology and sociology, her research adopts a novel approach to understanding and improving healthcare safety and quality through the application of innovative ethnographic and video reflexive ethnographic VRE methods.

What is Ethnography and how does it work?

Her research focusses on the co-creation of safety, wellbeing and dignity by professionals, patients and their families across different healthcare organisational contexts, and the development of ethnography and VRE as research and improvement methodologies. The Scottish Government.


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From origins to output: an ethnographic study of routinely collected social care data creation, processes and management. Research can range from an objectivist account of fixed, observable behaviors to an interpretive narrative describing "the interplay of individual agency and social structure. Another form of data collection is that of the "image. An image can be contained within the physical world through a particular individual's perspective, primarily based on that individual's past experiences.

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One example of an image is how an individual views a novel after completing it. The physical entity that is the novel contains a specific image in the perspective of the interpreting individual and can only be expressed by the individual in the terms of "I can tell you what an image is by telling you what it feels like. Effectively, the idea of the image is a primary tool for ethnographers to collect data.

When and How to Use Ethnographic Research

The image presents the perspective, experiences, and influences of an individual as a single entity and in consequence, the individual will always contain this image in the group under study. The ethnographic method is used across a range of different disciplines, primarily by anthropologists but also occasionally by sociologists. Cultural studies , Occupational Therapy , European ethnology , sociology , economics , social work , education , design , psychology , computer science , human factors and ergonomics , ethnomusicology , folkloristics , religious studies , geography , history , linguistics , communication studies , performance studies , advertising , accounting research , nursing , urban planning , usability , political science , [19] social movement , [20] and criminology are other fields which have made use of ethnography.

Cultural anthropology and social anthropology were developed around ethnographic research and their canonical texts, which are mostly ethnographies: e.

Cultural and social anthropologists today place a high value on doing ethnographic research. The typical ethnography is a document written about a particular people, almost always based at least in part on emic views of where the culture begins and ends. Using language or community boundaries to bound the ethnography is common. An ethnography is a specific kind of written observational science which provides an account of a particular culture, society, or community. The fieldwork usually involves spending a year or more in another society, living with the local people and learning about their ways of life.

Ruth Fulton Benedict uses examples of Enthrotyhy in her serious of field work that began in of Serrano, of the Zuni in , the Cochiti in and the Pina in All being people she wished to study for her anthropological data. Benedict's experiences with the Southwest Zuni pueblo is to be considered the basis of her formative fieldwork.

By studying the culture between the different Pueblo and Plain Indians, She discovered the culture isomorphism that would be considered her personalized unique approach to the study of anthropology using ethnographic techniques. A typical ethnography attempts to be holistic [4] [5] and typically follows an outline to include a brief history of the culture in question, an analysis of the physical geography or terrain inhabited by the people under study, including climate , and often including what biological anthropologists call habitat.

Folk notions of botany and zoology are presented as ethnobotany and ethnozoology alongside references from the formal sciences. Material culture, technology, and means of subsistence are usually treated next, as they are typically bound up in physical geography and include descriptions of infrastructure.

Kinship and social structure including age grading, peer groups, gender, voluntary associations, clans, moieties, and so forth, if they exist are typically included. Languages spoken, dialects, and the history of language change are another group of standard topics. As ethnography developed, anthropologists grew more interested in less tangible aspects of culture, such as values, worldview and what Clifford Geertz termed the "ethos" of the culture.

In his fieldwork, Geertz used elements of a phenomenological approach, tracing not just the doings of people, but the cultural elements themselves. For example, if within a group of people, winking was a communicative gesture, he sought to first determine what kinds of things a wink might mean it might mean several things. Then, he sought to determine in what contexts winks were used, and whether, as one moved about a region, winks remained meaningful in the same way.

In this way, cultural boundaries of communication could be explored, as opposed to using linguistic boundaries or notions about the residence. Geertz, while still following something of a traditional ethnographic outline, moved outside that outline to talk about "webs" instead of "outlines" [26] of culture. Within cultural anthropology, there are several subgenres of ethnography. Beginning in the s and early s, anthropologists began writing "bio-confessional" ethnographies that intentionally exposed the nature of ethnographic research.

Later " reflexive " ethnographies refined the technique to translate cultural differences by representing their effects on the ethnographer. This critical turn in sociocultural anthropology during the mids can be traced to the influence of the now classic and often contested text, Writing Culture: The Poetics and Politics of Ethnography , edited by James Clifford and George Marcus.


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Writing Culture helped bring changes to both anthropology and ethnography often described in terms of being 'postmodern,' 'reflexive,' 'literary,' 'deconstructive,' or 'poststructural' in nature, in that the text helped to highlight the various epistemic and political predicaments that many practitioners saw as plaguing ethnographic representations and practices. Where Geertz's and Turner's interpretive anthropology recognized subjects as creative actors who constructed their sociocultural worlds out of symbols, postmodernists attempted to draw attention to the privileged status of the ethnographers themselves.

That is, the ethnographer cannot escape the personal viewpoint in creating an ethnographic account, thus making any claims of objective neutrality highly problematic, if not altogether impossible. In certain instances, active collaboration between the researcher s and subject s has helped blend the practice of collaboration in ethnographic fieldwork with the process of creating the ethnographic product resulting from the research.

Studies have shown that ethnographies are tied into systems such as Health Care. Ethnographic health care studies have been done when it is necessary to monitor and look at behavior for people with illnesses. In other words, patients tend to rely on this type of research in order to know what specific behavior is correlated to illness.

For example, certain types of patients who receive therapy need to be watched closely to see what results may come of the treatment. Ethnography is not just useful when looking at the patients, it is also very helpful to look at the organization of health care.

In order to see how the system is executed, their must be studies done on those people who look at their behavior in order to get an idea of how efficient it really is. Savage, Sociology is another field which prominently features ethnographies. Urban sociology , Atlanta University now Clark-Atlanta University , and the Chicago School, in particular, are associated with ethnographic research, with some well-known early examples being The Philadelphia Negro by W.

Clair Drake and Horace R. Cayton, Jr. Major influences on this development were anthropologist Lloyd Warner , on the Chicago sociology faculty, and to Robert Park 's experience as a journalist. Symbolic interactionism developed from the same tradition and yielded such sociological ethnographies as Shared Fantasy by Gary Alan Fine , which documents the early history of fantasy role-playing games. Other important ethnographies in sociology include Pierre Bourdieu 's work in Algeria and France. Jaber F. Gubrium's series of organizational ethnographies focused on the everyday practices of illness, care, and recovery are notable.

They include Living and Dying at Murray Manor, which describes the social worlds of a nursing home; Describing Care: Image and Practice in Rehabilitation, which documents the social organization of patient subjectivity in a physical rehabilitation hospital; Caretakers: Treating Emotionally Disturbed Children, which features the social construction of behavioral disorders in children; and Oldtimers and Alzheimer's: The Descriptive Organization of Senility, which describes how the Alzheimer's disease movement constructed a new subjectivity of senile dementia and how that is organized in a geriatric hospital.

Another approach to ethnography in sociology comes in the form of institutional ethnography , developed by Dorothy E. Smith for studying the social relations which structure people's everyday lives. But even though many sub-fields and theoretical perspectives within sociology use ethnographic methods, ethnography is not the sine qua non of the discipline, as it is in cultural anthropology.

The taxonomy of social support: an ethnographic analysis among adolescent mothers. - PubMed - NCBI

Beginning in the s and s, ethnographic research methods began to be widely used by communication scholars. As the purpose of ethnography is to describe and interpret the shared and learned patterns of values, behaviors, beliefs, and language of a culture-sharing group, Harris, , also Agar note that ethnography is both a process and an outcome of the research. Studies such as Gerry Philipsen's analysis of cultural communication strategies in a blue-collar , working-class neighborhood on the south side of Chicago, Speaking 'Like a Man' in Teamsterville , paved the way for the expansion of ethnographic research in the study of communication.

Scholars of communication studies use ethnographic research methods to analyze communicative behaviors and phenomena. This is often characterized in the writing as attempts to understand taken-for-granted routines by which working definitions are socially produced. Ethnography as a method is a storied, careful, and systematic examination of the reality-generating mechanisms of everyday life Coulon, This often gives the perception of trying to answer the "why" and "how come" questions of human communication.

The American anthropologist George Spindler was a pioneer in applying the ethnographic methodology to the classroom. Anthropologists such as Daniel Miller and Mary Douglas have used ethnographic data to answer academic questions about consumers and consumption. In this sense, Tony Salvador, Genevieve Bell , and Ken Anderson describe design ethnography as being "a way of understanding the particulars of daily life in such a way as to increase the success probability of a new product or service or, more appropriately, to reduce the probability of failure specifically due to a lack of understanding of the basic behaviors and frameworks of consumers.

The results are products and services that respond to consumers' unmet needs.

Introduction to ethnographic methods

Businesses, too, have found ethnographers helpful for understanding how people use products and services. Companies make increasing use of ethnographic methods to understand consumers and consumption, or for new product development such as video ethnography. Ethnographers' systematic and holistic approach to real-life experience is valued by product developers, who use the method to understand unstated desires or cultural practices that surround products.

Where focus groups fail to inform marketers about what people really do, ethnography links what people say to what they do—avoiding the pitfalls that come from relying only on self-reported, focus-group data. Modern developments in computing power and AI have enabled higher efficiencies in ethnographic data collection via multimedia and computational analysis using machine learning. The ethnographic methodology is not usually evaluated in terms of philosophical standpoint such as positivism and emotionalism.

Ethnographic studies need to be evaluated in some manner. No consensus has been developed on evaluation standards, but Richardson , p. Gubrium and James A. Holstein's monograph, The New Language of Qualitative Method, discusses forms of ethnography in terms of their "methods talk.

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Ethnography, which is a method dedicated entirely to field work, is aimed at gaining a deeper insight of a certain people's knowledge and social culture. Among the dangers of ethnography are that it can become indistinguishable from a kind of embedded journalism or blog with academic jargon giving it the veneer of academic legitimacy but without actually meeting the classic requirements for ethnography.

Gary Alan Fine argues that the nature of ethnographic inquiry demands that researchers deviate from formal and idealistic rules or ethics that have come to be widely accepted in qualitative and quantitative approaches in research. Many of these ethical assumptions are rooted in positivist and post-positivist epistemologies that have adapted over time but are apparent and must be accounted for in all research paradigms.

These ethical dilemmas are evident throughout the entire process of conducting ethnographies, including the design, implementation, and reporting of an ethnographic study.