SAGE Journals

Reinforce chapter themes with free access to two journal articles for each chapter and further online readings. Select chapters will also include suggested weblinks.

Journal Article 8.1: Carnevale, F., Macdonald, M., Bluebond-Langner, M. and McKeever, P. (2008) ‘Using participant observation in paediatric health care settings: Ethical challenges and solutions’, Journal of Child Health Care 12: 18–32.

Discussion Points: How is participant observation undertaken in this context? What benefits did this approach bring? Critically evaluate the paper.

Journal Article 8.2: Lewis, S. and Russell, A. (2011) ‘Being embedded: A way forward for ethnographic research’, Ethnography 12: 398–416.

Discussion points: What is embedded practice in this context? How does it draw on the principles of PO? What are the challenges of PO as defined by the author?

 Journal Article 8.3: Dahlke, S., Hall, W. and Phinney, A. (2015) ‘Maximizing theoretical contributions of participant observation while managing challenges’, Qualitative Health Research 25(8): 1117–22.

Description: Participant observation (PO) is an important method of data collection used in a variety of research methodologies. PO can inform theory development by providing understanding of participants’ behaviors and the contexts that influence their behaviors. Because theory development is important in grounded theory studies, we emphasize theoretical contributions of PO while interrogating the challenges of using PO, in particular, attending to informed consent. We use the exemplar of a mid-range theory about nursing practice with hospitalized older adults to highlight contributions of PO to category development. While acknowledging theoretical contributions, we explore challenges entailed in observations where consenting participants interact with vulnerable patients and a changing cast of health care professionals in dynamic contexts. Reflexivity about interactions with vulnerable individuals, as well as other actions to avoid compromising voluntary consent, enhances contributions of PO.

Journal Article 8.4: Jenkins, J. M. (2014) ‘Clothing norms as markers of status in a hospital setting: A Bourdieusian analysis’, Health 18(5): 526–41.

Description: This article uses a Bourdieusian framework to understand the importance of clothing norms for symbolizing and reproducing social, as well as professional, hierarchy in hospitals. Using data from participant observation, it examines how a complex yet informal dress code has emerged at a community hospital in the Northeastern United States, in a setting where very few formal guidelines exist on how to dress. By conceptualizing professionals as holders of various types of capital (economic, cultural, and symbolic), this article expands previous research which considered clothing only as a marker of professional identity. The findings demonstrate (1) how clothing norms are used in subtle, but purposeful, ways to reflect varying degrees of cultural and economic capital and (2) how these complex norms also reflect professional boundaries in medical authority (symbolic capital), which is important during critical moments where clothing can quickly signal who can take control. The discussion borrows Bourdieu’s concepts of habitus and field to explain why subordinates subscribe to these clothing norms, in the absence of a formal organizational dress code.