Qualitative Research Related to Ethnography
Qualitative research provides a description of the holistic and individual aspects of how people experience a given issue. It looks at the person’s or community’s side of an issue in terms of behaviors, beliefs, opinions, emotions, and social experiences. It also focuses on people and communities holistically to gain an in-depth understanding of their experiences. There are three methods of qualitative research: phenomenological, grounded theory, and ethnographic research. These methods offer a wider and deeper understanding of the research problem from multiple viewpoints (Boswell, 2020).
Ethnography involves the collection and analysis of data about unique groups. It is used to gain knowledge of the culture of a group or to understand the values, norms, and rules that characterize the group. For example, the researcher may examine groups of patients with a specific illness, such as TB, and the healthcare setting, such as a nursing home. Data is collected through reading documents within the culture, conducting interviews, or through observation. Ethnography seeks to understand the experiences of the entire community (Boswell, 2020).
Grounded theory develops a new theory and is used when little to no research in the existing literature is available to guide the practice. There are three steps involved: (1) open coding, which involves categorizing the information and examining the properties of the data, (2) axial coding, which identifies the relationships between categories and subcategories, and (3) selective coding, which involves integrating the concepts around the category. For example, the research may explore the patients’ experiences of recovery following a surgical intervention for breast cancer. Grounded theory aims to understand what is going on (Boswell, 2020).
Phenomenology involves the study of events and trends, considering a person’s worldviews and human perspective. It is used to develop an understanding of a lived experience that is described by the patient. For example, the researcher may understand the patient’s experience of living in assisted care. Data are collected through interviews and inductive analysis. Phenomenology aims to understand what it feels like (Boswell, 2020).
The three methods use similar data collection processes, such as interviews, observations, documents, etc. The differences lie in how they are utilized and the extent of the data collected. For example, only interviews are used in phenomenology, while many forms are used in case-study research to provide an in-depth picture. These differences are pronounced at the data analysis stage. The number of steps may vary with each method as well. For instance, phenomenology uses more extensive steps than ethnography does.
The approach used would depend on the research question.
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