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Health E-Learning and Media Team
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1. Introduction

Have you ever been in a healthcare setting and questioned why certain activities occur the way they do?

Qualitative fieldwork is one approach that can be used to answer these questions. It is defined as a method of research that aims to observe and collect data within a natural situation. That means to observe people and their interactions with a "real world" environment. It can actually cover many different methods of data collection and research methodologies carried out in this way.

In this resource we will explore the nature of qualitative fieldwork as a research approach and some of the things you need to consider when undertaking this approach.

Qualitative fieldwork is undertaken when you want to understand a culture or environment and/or people's experiences within that context. For example, if you work in midwifery you might want to understand father's experiences in the labour ward or in healthcare of the older person you might want to understand how care is delivered to cognitively impaired patients who are agitated, or in physiotherapy how work in rehabilitation gyms is conducted.

Use the exercise here to think about an environment or setting you might want to investigate. What might be some of the activities you want to understand more about in this setting?

Build your Research Protocol Sheet.

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