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Watering down ethnography
  1. Tanisha Jowsey1,2
  1. 1Centre for Medical and Health Sciences Education, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
  2. 2Australian Primary Health Care Research Institute, Australian National University, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Tanisha Jowsey, Centre for Medical and Health Sciences Education, University of Auckland, Auckland City Hospital, Level 12.025, Park Road, Grafton, Auckland 1023, New Zealand; t.jowsey{at}

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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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  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

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