Institutional ethnography as an instrument of change: making an emancipatory method of inquiry visible

Morton-Ninomiya, Melody E. (2015) Institutional ethnography as an instrument of change: making an emancipatory method of inquiry visible. Doctoral (PhD) thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Institutional ethnography’s (IE) method of inquiry, itself, can be an emancipatory instrument of change. I make visible a new way of conducting IE, using the research process to advance knowledge utilization. More specifically, I illustrate how relational and accessible knowledge translation (KT) approaches facilitate transformative experiences for research stakeholders and researchers alike. My dissertation contributes a new and innovative direction to the growing fields of IE, KT, and decolonizing research. My doctoral research used IE to examine how institutional supports and services were socially organized around children and youth diagnosed with a fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) diagnosis in two distinct communities: one rural Indigenous community and one urban, predominantly non-Indigenous, community. This community-based research was conducted in close partnership with community stakeholders and resulted in a number of KT initiatives based on research findings and recommendations. Instead of discussing research findings that critique communities or institutions that were—at the time of writing this dissertation—working to improve access to FASD-informed policies and programs, my dissertation makes visible the process and value of disseminating research findings to the community. My dissertation is dedicated to advancing the use of IE as an emancipatory, decolonizing and community-based method of inquiry. I further argue that excellence in community-based applied health research is found in the relational how of research more so than what the research reveals. My dissertation is comprised of four manuscripts that reveal and discuss how I adapted IE to suit the needs of an Indigenous community, struggled and dealt with unforeseen challenges, used visual graphics to facilitate research processes that are frequently text-based, and used IE to make discrepancies visible around an FASD diagnosis for children and youth in an urban community. Overall, this dissertation represents the thinking and learning produced from using IE as a method of inquiry in innovative and exciting ways, advancing the sociology of health research by making visible how IE can be used as a means to an emancipatory end.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral (PhD))
Item ID: 8472
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references.
Keywords: institutional ethnography, knowledge translation, decolonizing, community-based research, fetal alcohol spectrum disorder
Department(s): Medicine, Faculty of
Date: May 2015
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Children of prenatal alcohol abuse--Diseases--Diagnosis; Children of prenatal alcohol abuse--Services for--Cross-cultural studies; Children of prenatal alcohol abuse--Services for--Social aspects; Ethnology--Research--Methodology
Medical Subject Heading: Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders; Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders--diagnosis; Child Health Services; Cross-Cultural Comparison

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