Understanding Practitioner Ethnography
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Understanding Practitioner Ethnography

Thomas David Barton Lecturer, School of Health Science, Faculty of Health and Human Sciences, Swansea University, UK

Thomas David Barton provides an overview of practitioner ethnography, a research approach that provides practitioners with a way of exploring the culture of their workplace. He compares practitioner and traditional ethnography and looks at the pros and cons of the method

The primary intention of this paper is to describe a qualitative research method, explore associated theoretical issues, and enable readers to identify key issues that will assist them when using this approach in research. The discussion opens with a broad summary of the methodology and tools of cultural (anthropological) ethnography and then focuses on the method variant known as practitioner ethnography. There is consideration of the specifics of this method, discussion of its use in practice, and review of issues that arise from data, findings, relevance, and subsequent generalisability. The role of practitioner ethnographers is outlined, with a focus on their involvement in the investigation and interpretation of individual, group, organisational or cultural behaviour, and in the interpretation of human experience (Leininger 1985, Porter 1996).

Nurse Researcher. 15, 2, 7-18. doi: 10.7748/nr2008.01.15.2.7.c6322

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