9: Blakeslee/Fleischer Prompts, Ch. 3

Prompt 8 (Blakeslee p. 52): Identifying a setting

The setting I am now considering for my research is a waiting room in a general physician’s office. I believe it is a good setting for my research question for a number of reasons, most specifically that it will allow me to observe communication in a medical setting with a minimal amount of privacy concern. Also, although I haven’t done the research to back this up yet, I suspect this may be an area that has not been much focused on previously, thereby creating a gap in available scholarship that I could help fill. (We’ll see how that pans out once I start doing research on this setting.) I do know that IRB and local permissions will still be major issues because of the medical setting.

Furthermore, I am now thinking about studying a new mechanized check-in system that has recently been put into place at my local doctor’s office. ISU’s clinic has had this system in place for a longer time, so these two sites might provide an interesting comparative study.

  • Required approvals will include the university IRB and an administrator of a local waiting room/doctor’s office.
  • These people will likely be concerned about patients’ rights to privacy. I hope to allay those concerns by explaining that I will be observing interactions only in the public space of the waiting room. I may also need to secure the permission of those I observe, though this would have to be done after the fact.
  • Establishing good rapport could be done by letting these individuals know about ways they and patients stand to benefit from my research. As I don’t have the specifics of my research nailed down yet, I can’t discuss these well … but any research I do will have benefits for participants.
  • My main obstacle will be negotiating privacy concerns. I will also have to learn on-the-job about the things I’m looking for. I’m quite sure this research will require at least one pilot study.
  • Many of my responses to obstacles will have to be devised as obstacles come up. In advance, I can take steps to assure patient privacy and to minimize the effect I have on the environment as an observer.

Prompt 9 (Blakeslee p. 55): Thinking about lenses

  • I gravitate toward approaches that favor thinking about social and cultural influences, and I’m especially interested in areas that are of current popular interest. In terms of approaches, then, methodologies that privilege ideas about ethics and sustainability are important to me.
  • My personal beliefs and preferences are intimately tied up in my research. The United States currently faces what has been dubbed a healthcare crisis. As a professional reporter, I saw the personal effects of this crisis and resulting legislation firsthand. Also, as a graduate student, I get by on an insurance policy that is different from what most people have (or lack).
  • My theoretical beliefs tend toward approaches that put egalitarian concerns first. For me, this means I’m interested in technology (and its posited democratizing effects) and feminism.
  • I struggle to see my own biases, and I think qualitative research is important for this reason. I suspect I am biased in my search for places where gender is constructed in ways that are damaging to women. Honestly, I’m OK with this bias (which is perhaps a problem) because I see it as a natural reaction to a world that does the opposite. I am also biased in economic ways that sometimes embarrass me deeply. I know that I grew up economically privileged, but I also worked very hard to get where I am (as did my husband, who grew up in a very different context). I consider myself a fiscal conservative, which is certainly an anomaly in academia. This could definitely be construed as a bias.
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