Case Studies

Epistemology and Ethnography in Health Systems Research

Describing ethnographic research about the organization of care for suicide attempters in a hospital, this case study illustrates how epistemology determines method and how epistemology is made visible through data collection procedures.

1: How is the choice of research method and data collection procedures influenced by epistemology?

2: Why is it important for researchers to make explicit the epistemological starting points of their research?


Feminist Approaches to Using Other People’s Words: Two Examples

Referring to feminist research, this case presents different approaches to interview material (narrative analysis, discourse analysis, and conversation analysis) and considers how these epistemological approaches create ‘facts’ (often called ontology) from ‘data’. A positivist understanding of qualitative research is problematized.

1: Why is the distinction between theory and method problematic?

2: Why is it important to reflect on the epistemological and ontological implications of method decisions in a study?


Mixed Methods: Is This Appropriate for My Research?

Referring to a community-based mixed-methods study of effect of households' and mothers' participation in an Indian wage-for-employment scheme on infant malnutrition, the case discusses why mixed methods were used to answer the research questions and explain the selection of the design, prioritizing and weighting, and mixing of the quantitative and qualitative components.

1: What are the advantages and disadvantages of using mixed methods?

2: Why do we distinguish between sequential and parallel mixed methods approaches?