Title

Critical Ethnography: ‘Doing’ Research on Occupation

Start Time

15-10-2009 3:45 PM

End Time

15-10-2009 5:15 PM

Abstract

Intent: This paper outlines the methodology of a critical ethnography (CE) exploring the integration experiences of immigrants residing in London, Ontario, Canada, and presents reflections on the effectiveness of this methodology for addressing transitions to daily occupation based on the on-going study. Argument: CE provides a means to enhance understanding of the ways in which occupations are contextually situated. My research explores changes to the occupations and places of French-speakers immigrating into a predominantly Anglophone community, and how these changes impact their integration into society, and ultimately their identities. The CE involves a multi-stage process incorporating a number of methods. To collect individual level data, 5 meetings are being held with 8-10 immigrant participants. First, a narrative interview is conducted to obtain the story of the participants’ migration experience. Second, participants create a mental map of their spaces within the city, and we then engage in an occupation of their choosing. Third, we participate in another of the participants’ occupations. Finally, two final semi-structured interviews address occupation and integration respectively. To collect structural level data, 3 methods are used: semi-structured interviews with community immigrant service providers; analysis of demographic census data; and analysis of government documents (e.g. working papers) on the issue. As this research is located within a critical theory paradigm, the design is emergent and data collection and analysis are being undertaken concurrently to enable an iterative process of knowledge construction. Importance to occupational science: As many routine occupations are tacit in nature and often taken-for-granted, this research methodology enables the study of transitions negotiated by people whose familiar contexts have experienced an upheaval due to their movement between countries. The combination of the two levels of data collection and analysis promote an exploration of both structure and agency, as people’s experiences are located within their particular socio-historic contexts. The methodology is enabled by the use of an occupational perspective, which views occupation not solely as participation in occupation, but rather as a process of doing, being, becoming and belonging. Conclusion: This CE critically examines structural influences upon migrants’ processes of settlement and integration, in order to address how their integration and identity are experienced and negotiated within current systems and structures through occupation.

References

Carspecken, P. F. (2001). Critical Ethnography in Educational Research: A Theoretical and Practical Guide. New York: Routledge.

Dei, G.J.S. & Singh Johal, G. (Eds.). (2005). Critical issues in anti-racist research methodologies. New York: Peter Lang.

Racine, L. (2003). Implementing a postcolonial feminist perspective in nursing research related to non-Western populations. Nursing Inquiry, 10(2), 91-102. DOI: 10.1046/j.1440-1800.2003.00169.x

Rebeiro, K.L. (2001). Enabling occupation: the importance of an affirming environment. The Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy, 68(2), 80-89. Article Access

Wilcock, A. (1998b). Reflections on doing, being and becoming. The Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy, 65, 248-256. Article Access

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Oct 15th, 3:45 PM Oct 15th, 5:15 PM

Critical Ethnography: ‘Doing’ Research on Occupation

Intent: This paper outlines the methodology of a critical ethnography (CE) exploring the integration experiences of immigrants residing in London, Ontario, Canada, and presents reflections on the effectiveness of this methodology for addressing transitions to daily occupation based on the on-going study. Argument: CE provides a means to enhance understanding of the ways in which occupations are contextually situated. My research explores changes to the occupations and places of French-speakers immigrating into a predominantly Anglophone community, and how these changes impact their integration into society, and ultimately their identities. The CE involves a multi-stage process incorporating a number of methods. To collect individual level data, 5 meetings are being held with 8-10 immigrant participants. First, a narrative interview is conducted to obtain the story of the participants’ migration experience. Second, participants create a mental map of their spaces within the city, and we then engage in an occupation of their choosing. Third, we participate in another of the participants’ occupations. Finally, two final semi-structured interviews address occupation and integration respectively. To collect structural level data, 3 methods are used: semi-structured interviews with community immigrant service providers; analysis of demographic census data; and analysis of government documents (e.g. working papers) on the issue. As this research is located within a critical theory paradigm, the design is emergent and data collection and analysis are being undertaken concurrently to enable an iterative process of knowledge construction. Importance to occupational science: As many routine occupations are tacit in nature and often taken-for-granted, this research methodology enables the study of transitions negotiated by people whose familiar contexts have experienced an upheaval due to their movement between countries. The combination of the two levels of data collection and analysis promote an exploration of both structure and agency, as people’s experiences are located within their particular socio-historic contexts. The methodology is enabled by the use of an occupational perspective, which views occupation not solely as participation in occupation, but rather as a process of doing, being, becoming and belonging. Conclusion: This CE critically examines structural influences upon migrants’ processes of settlement and integration, in order to address how their integration and identity are experienced and negotiated within current systems and structures through occupation.