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Title: Disruption in the space-time continuum: why digital ethnography matters
Authors: Cleland, Jennifer
MacLeod, Anna
Keywords: Science::Medicine
Issue Date: 2022
Source: Cleland, J. & MacLeod, A. (2022). Disruption in the space-time continuum: why digital ethnography matters. Advances in Health Sciences Education, 27(3), 877-892.
Journal: Advances in Health Sciences Education
Abstract: There is increasing interest in the use of ethnography as a qualitative research approach to explore, in depth, issues of culture in health professions education (HPE). Our specific focus in this article is incorporating the digital into ethnography. Digital technologies are pervasively and increasingly shaping the way we interact, behave, think, and communicate as health professions educators and learners. Understanding the contemporary culture(s) of HPE thus means paying attention to what goes on in digital spaces. In this paper, we critically consider some of the potential issues when the field of ethnography exists outside the space time continuum, including the need to engage with theory in research about technology and digital spaces in HPE. After a very brief review of the few HPE studies that have used digital ethnography, we scrutinize what can be gained when ethnography encompasses the digital world, particularly in relation to untangling sociomaterial aspects of HPE. We chart the shifts inherent in conducting ethnographic research within the digital landscape, specifically those related to research field, the role of the researcher and ethical issues. We then use two examples to illustrate possible HPE research questions and potential strategies for using digital ethnography to answer those questions: using digital tools in the conduct of an ethnographic study and how to conduct an ethnography of a digital space. We conclude that acknowledging the pervasiveness of technologies in the design, delivery and experiences of HPE opens up new research questions which can be addressed by embracing the digital in ethnography.
ISSN: 1382-4996
DOI: 10.1007/s10459-022-10101-1
Schools: Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine (LKCMedicine) 
Rights: © 2022 The Author(s). Open Access. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit
Fulltext Permission: open
Fulltext Availability: With Fulltext
Appears in Collections:LKCMedicine Journal Articles

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