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Ethnography (at the Muddy Edges) of the Field: Negotiating the Hurdles in Hospital-Based Ethnographic Research

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By: Published: 2018 | Product: SAGE Research Methods Cases in Sociology
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Abstract

Before getting to a research site to do your ethnography, you’ll probably encounter some hurdles along the way. In this case study, I’ll tell you about some of mine and share lessons I’ve taken from that experience, as I frame three aspects of my PhD fieldwork experience: why I was there, what I was when there, and how I was when there. In each of those areas, there are lessons I have learned from the process and experiences I went through. I’ll explain why with a project overview and how the original project vision had to shift quite considerably, as well as a few of the difficulties I encountered on the way in gaining access to my research site. What I was when there allows me to tell you something about my development and identity as a researcher, but more particularly as an ethnographer asking herself, “What sort of ethnography am I doing?” In addition to illustrating how (and who) I was when in the field as an ethnographer, I will use what was a practical problem of my own, and reflections on my training, to ponder about training and practice in ethnographic research. My work was also altered by my experiences of being a researcher with a hearing impairment, and so I offer an account of what it was like to do ethnography as a disabled researcher with feminist sensibilities.

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