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As a medical anthropologist who has worked in primary healthcare research and medical education for many years, I was delighted to come across a recent article by Lamba et al,1 entitled ‘Identifying patient safety problems during team rounds: an ethnographic study.’ I am currently working on several research projects that involve observing healthcare practitioners in various settings—the clinic, wards, surgical theatres—with a view to applying anthropological methods to understanding the phenomena under observation. It is the term ‘ethnography’ in the title that first captured my attention. Eager to see how other social scientists in the clinical setting had applied ethnographic methods and appropriate theoretical positionings, I began to read. Having reached the end of this short article, I was perplexed. The data collection was observational. The data analysis was descriptive statistics. What is it that makes this piece of research ethnographic? On …
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