• November 21, 2012 from 12:00pm to 1:30pm

Wednesday, November 21, 2012 – A spy in the house of healing: Challenges of doing critical qualitative research in clinical settings

Speaker: Dr. Fiona Webster, Education Scientist/Assistant Professor, Department of Family and Community Medicine, University of Toronto

Abstract: Dr. Fiona Webster’s talk will draw upon her experiences of working as a critical ethnographer in health care settings in Ontario. Others have explored how qualitative research approaches are received within a field dominated by a biomedical science model and whether or not they are considered – by others – as a legitimate or credible form of science. This presentation will explore what it means to work closely with health care providers and patients in health care settings as a non-clinical researcher. It will also explore the designation of “scientist” and how this label serves to legitimize ethnography as a form of inquiry while at the same time undermining its ties to critical scholarship. As ethnography and other qualitative methods become increasingly popular in health care, the position of the researcher to her academic discipline and methodological foundations, as juxtaposed to her location within the health care setting, may continue to pose tensions in terms of authenticity, identity and ethics.

Speaker Bio: Fiona Webster is an Education Scientist in the Department of Family and Community Medicine (DFCM) at the University of Toronto. She holds a PhD in sociology from the University of Toronto (2009) and has trained in critical qualitative and ethnographic approaches including institutional ethnography. Prior to this she was an Associate Scientist with the musculoskeletal health program at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre where she led several innovative studies that utilized social science theory and methods to develop more effective strategies for integrating and promoting the uptake of evidence-based knowledge in the delivery of surgical care that are sensitive to clinical, policy and patient standpoints. Her current research with the DFCM focuses on medical education. Fiona is cross-appointed to the Departments of Surgery, Health Policy, Management and Evaluation (HPME) and the Institute of Medical Science (IMS) where she teaches qualitative research methods and knowledge translation.