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Critical Ethnography: A Pragmatic Research Methodology to Explore Experiences of Immigrant Women Seeking Help for Postpartum Depression

By: Published: 2017 | Product: SAGE Research Methods Cases Part 2
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For my PhD project, I used critical ethnography as a pragmatic method to explore how immigrant and refugee women make decisions about postpartum care, the factors that influence their health-seeking behavior, and the health care strategies the women find helpful to prevent or treat postpartum depression. This case study provides an account of why critical ethnography was chosen and demonstrates its application in the context of a PhD nursing research project. The method described here could be applied in other academic fields. The case describes what I learned and the strengths and limitations I encountered in the ethnographic study. The critical ethnographic method enabled me to inquire about social inequalities that immigrant and refugee women experience in Canada's health care system and to find out what changes could improve their postpartum care. The critical ethnographic method afforded the women a voice and enabled me to acknowledge and validate, rather than merely observe and record, their narratives. The results were shared with the participants to supplement their knowledge about the multiple factors that influence postpartum care.

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