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Dipping qualitative toes into a quantitative worldview: Methodological manoeuvres in a multicultural context

posted on 2018-03-23, 00:00 authored by Cynthia Cowling, Celeste Lawson
I am a novice researcher situated in a health profession (radiography) with a small research footprint and a strong preference for quantitative clinical studies. Only 5 % of articles published in peer reviewed journals, devoted to radiography, are qualitative (Balderston, 2014). I wanted to investi­ gate the sociological aspects of radiographic practice from a global com­ parative perspective. The study was not seeking a clinical focus, although one could argue that results of a qualitative study could well impact the clinical managements of patients. An ethnographic methodology seemed a natural choice. The rationale and manoeuvres needed to satisfy not only the radiographic community but communities situated in varied cultures proved challenging. This chapter provides an overview of the journey to choose my methodology and the rationale needed to rigorously justify my approach. The benefits of an ethnographic approach in health care research were considered, and the use of ethnography as a methodology by radiography researchers was identified. Problems and issues of qualita­ tive research were considered, and how they were resolved. My own jour­ ney was then traced, including the issues and pitfalls encountered in the development, design, and implementation of an ethnographic qualitative study. My PhD research involved a comparison of sociological radiographic practice in eight countries from a variety of socioeconomic and cultural environments-Australia, India, Taiwan, Trinidad and Tobago, United Arab Emirates (UAE), USA, UK, and Finland. This complex data collec­ tion required rigorous manoeuvring to satisfy the groups being studied as well as my need for robust data. In the first instance, a convincing case for a qualitative study was required. Once established, each country site had to support and approve their involvement in the study. The differences in perceptions, policies, social, and economic circumstances, the macro country culture and well as the micro workplace culture all influenced my ability to achieve the aims of the study.



Harreveld R; Danaher M; Lawson C; Knight BA; Busch G

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Palgrave Macmillan

Place of Publication

London, UK

Peer Reviewed

  • Yes

Open Access

  • No

External Author Affiliations

Monash University

Era Eligible

  • Yes

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