, Volume 10, Issue 2, pp 133-150

Qualitative Cancer Genetic Counseling Research, Part I: Ethnography in a Cancer Clinic

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Abstract

This is a report of the experience of several months' ethnographic research by a genetic counselor researcher in a cancer treatment clinic. One goal of the exercise was to directly experience a method of qualitative research known as ethnography, which relies heavily on participant-observation, in an applied clinical setting. Another goal was to explore a previously undescribed research area in the genetic counseling literature, namely, the meaning of cancer and cancer treatment for affected individuals and their support companions. Here we report on a personal account of the experiences of conducting and publishing the research. The preliminary analysis and results of this field experience are published elsewhere (Peters et al. (2001) J Genet Counsel 10(2):151–168.). These initial findings support the feasibility of genetic counselors, who are trained in specific social science methodologies, to conduct qualitative research pertinent to genetic counseling practice.