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11-02-2019 | A Qualitative Space | Uitgave 1/2019 Open Access

Perspectives on Medical Education 1/2019

Why institutional ethnography? Why now? Institutional ethnography in health professions education

Perspectives on Medical Education > Uitgave 1/2019
Grainne P. Kearney, Michael K. Corman, Nigel D. Hart, Jennifer L. Johnston, Gerard J. Gormley


This ‘A Qualitative Space’ article takes a critical look at Dorothy Smith’s approach to inquiry known as institutional ethnography and its potentiality in contemporary health professions education research. We delve into institutional ethnography’s philosophical underpinnings, setting out the ontological shift that the researcher needs to make within this critical feminist approach. We use examples of research into frontline healthcare, into the health work of patients and into education to allow the reader to consider what an institutional ethnography research project might offer. We lay out our vision for potential growth for institutional ethnography research within the health professions education field and explain why we see this as the opportune moment to adopt institutional ethnography to meet some of the challenges facing health professions education in a way that offers informed change.
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