Participant Observation: An Ethnographic Study of the Culture in a Diagnostic Imaging Department

Abstract

For my DProf, I wanted to carry out research into the professional culture, and started my data collection in 2008. This involved participant observation for 4 months, for 1 day per week in one diagnostic imaging department, to watch how diagnostic radiographers work and interact. The observation was followed by semi-structured interviews with 10 key informants who were purposively sampled. This case study provides an account of the participant observation, looking at the situational and methodological issues that arose during the data collection. I look at some of the practical and ethical issues that arose from carrying out research in my own professional area and what it was like to be a participant observer.

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