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Recruiting participants : lessons learnt and the reality of ethnographic research

conference contribution
posted on 06.12.2017, 00:00 by John BroadbentJohn Broadbent, Lorna MoxhamLorna Moxham, Trudy DwyerTrudy Dwyer
Ethnography is an ideal methodology for researching nursing practice as it allows the contextualisation of findings within in a cultural milieu. This is important as while all nurses share a common cultural background of nursing they differ as a result of their disciplines and the philosophies that shape the care they deliver and therefore have differing cultural identities. A unique feature of ethnographic research is the requirement for the researcher to spend time in the research setting to observe participants. Therefore unlike research using survey instruments or individual or group interviews where interaction with a researcher may be distant or intermittent, participants in ethnographic research agree to be observed and interact with the researcher over an extended period of time. Despite its usefulness as a methodology, clinicians do not commonly experience ethnographic research. This paper will outline the process undertaken to recruit participants into an ethnographic research project conducted with mental health and emergency nurses. The recruitment of participants required more than the provision of a formal information sheet and consent form. Potential participants required time to get to know the researcher and to understand the research and consider the implications of being involved in the research. Participants also required ongoing conversations about the conduct and success of the research. These issues demand a sensitive approach to ensure that the needs of participants are met and research conducted in an ethically and methodologically sound manner.


Category 1 - Australian Competitive Grants (this includes ARC, NHMRC)


Parent Title

International journal of mental health nursing.





Start Page


Start Date





Hobart, Tas.


Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Asia,

Place of Publication


Peer Reviewed


Open Access


External Author Affiliations

Institute for Health and Social Science Research (IHSSR); Institute for Health and Social Science Research (IHSSR);

Era Eligible


Name of Conference

Australian College of Mental Health Nurses. Conference