The ethnographic conceptual framework examines group classifications and relationships and their effects on individuals. These classifications can represent a variety of groups from people with different ethnic backgrounds to nurses on different units. There are benefits and disadvantages to grouping people and classifying their actions; there is a risk of stereotyping people but there is also the possibility of gaining a better understanding of an individual. In this paper, I will explore the strengths and weaknesses of using the ethnographic conceptual framework by investigating applications of the framework.
There are many positive aspects of using an ethnographic conceptual lens. The ...view middle of the document...
Centeno, Anderson, Restrepo, Jacobson, Guendouzi, Müller et al. (2007) explored ethnographic approaches to linguistics and their findings illustrate how ethnographic and cultural research can benefit us as healthcare providers. In their research they identify cultural and linguistic tendencies related to dementia and its speech related effects. This information can be applied in the treatment of people with dementia, for instance bilingual Spanish and English speakers have used treatment involving language switching to treat dementia related word retrieval problems (Centeno, Anderson, Restrepo, Jacobson, Guendouzi, Müller et al., 2007)
In cases like these, research using an ethnographic conceptual framework can give healthcare providers the necessary knowledge to provide accurate and culturally sensitive health care. Using the ethnographic lens can also empower underrepresented and understudied populations by weakening the cultural hegemonies associated with the absence of ethnographic research.
There are also negative aspects of using an ethnographic lens. A big concern about using the ethnographic approach is generalizing and stereotyping groups and losing sight of individual variances from the norm. Although people may share the same human nature and similar cultural tendencies, individual characteristics can vary and generalizations can be inaccurate.
Clabo examined the variances in postoperative pain assessment in two different nursing units. Her research used an ethnographic lens which looked at the different culture on each unit and the effect this had on pain assessment (Clabo, 2008). In Clabo's study the two groups of nurses from two units used different approaches to pain management. The first group used an approach which involved using information in addition to a pain scale (such as type of surgery and patients physical state) to assess pain whereas the second group relied solely on a patients pain rating (2008). Clabo attributes the differences in pain assessment to differences in the unit cultures and group thinking (2008). However other factors may also play a role in the differences. Although Clabo ensured that the units were similar and had similar policies and procedures, the personal opinion of one nursing manager or one educator might have been enough to change the entire unit’s perspective on pain assessments. Although Clabo does establish that there is a correlation between the nursing unit culture and the assessment of pain, it might be difficult to establish a causal relationship.
Gutiérrez and Rogoff researched through an ethnographic lens the relationship between ethnic cultural backgrounds and different learning styles (2002). In the study, the issue of overgeneralization is brought up and the researchers warn against applying cultural differences to individual traits (Gutiérrez, Rogoff, 2002). They provide the example of individuals having their teaching methods, goals and expectations determined by the...