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Shape of things to come: factors affecting an ethnographic study in radiation therapy

  • Susan Merchant (a1), Georgia Halkett (a1) and Moira O’Connor (a1)

The research process is a series of stages necessary to establish the integrity, value, and feasibility of a proposal. Part of the preparation is in understanding the process and factors that can contour a study. The aim of this paper is to outline the hidden factors that may be experienced when undertaking qualitative research. Although the participants are the main players of the study additional influences also require recognition to allow transparency of the project and the researcher’s stance. The guidance of university supervisors has the potential to influence the researcher’s perspective and the effectiveness of the study. Negotiation with clinical staff can add another dimension. Ethics committees are composed of individuals with varied expertise, bringing their points of view into the discussion and decision making, impacting further on the proposed research. It is important for medical radiations professionals who become involved in research to be aware of these factors and how they may influence a project and to acknowledge the impact of the perspectives of the researcher on the project. The significance of this paper is to provide novice researchers, an understanding of the influence, hidden factors play on the results of qualitative research with particular reference to ethnography.

Corresponding author
Correspondence to: Susan Merchant, PO Box 703, Brighton, South Australia 5048, Australia. E-mail:
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Journal of Radiotherapy in Practice
  • ISSN: 1460-3969
  • EISSN: 1467-1131
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