Ethnography is a research approach concerned with the study of people and their culture. Although deeply rooted in the field of anthropology, diversification has seen ethnography applied to research in other domains, such as business and education. This research aimed to illustrate how an ethnographic approach can be applied effectively to explore and understand patterns of mealtime culture, environment and social practice on the subacute ward. A series of three qualitative studies were conducted on two subacute wards in Melbourne, Australia. Data were collected over a 16-month period using participant observation, interviews and focus groups. Participants included managers, clinical and support services staff, volunteers and visitors. Data were analysed using an inductive, thematic approach. Immersion was achieved by conducting 130 hours of fieldwork. Complexities in mealtime processes, practices and interactions were realised by observing over 260 participants, generating 233 pages of single-spaced typed field notes. Mealtime experiences, perspectives and attitudes were accessed by speaking to more than 90 participants in interviews and focus groups. Successful application of the ethnographic approach was demonstrated by repeated integration on the study wards and prolonged engagement with participants, enabling the research questions to be answered. Ethnography offers a useful way to discover patterns and meaning, and provide a comprehensive understanding of way of life. Opportunities exist to apply this approach to other areas of dietetics research, including program or intervention evaluation, consumer behaviour, and patient or student experience studies. Funding source. Ella Ottrey is supported by an Australian Government Research Training Program scholarship. © 2017 Dietitians Association of Australia.
|Name||Nutrition and Dietectics|
|Conference||34th National Conference Dietitians Association of Australia|
|Period||18/05/17 → 20/05/17|