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Title: Certainty in uncertainty : our position on culture, focused ethnography, and researching older people
Authors: Butcon, JV 
Chan, EA 
Keywords: Culture
Older people
Issue Date: 1-Dec-2017
Publisher: SAGE Publications published on behalf of the International Institute for Qualitative Methodology
Source: International journal of qualitative methods, 1 Dec. 2017, v. 16, p. 1-9, How to cite?
Journal: International journal of qualitative methods 
Abstract: This article discursively discusses our position on culture adopting a translational paradigm and on focused ethnography (FE) that helps us construct our evolving understanding of the older people, their illness experience, and dying and death. This work reveals our struggle to understand our position (philosophy) and our use of a methodology to inquire about a phenomenon that is plagued by ageism and the one-size-fits-all mentality in health care. We assert that these problems of ageism and standardization together ignore the contextual and cultural realities of older people's experience in health and in dying situations. In our attempt to find the best fit between what we ask (research question) and how we answer (methodology) the question, we discovered with certainty that our own understanding of what counts as cultural and how FE will help us define such a culture is uncertain until we clarify our own ideological stance regarding the phenomenon in question.
ISSN: 1609-4069
EISSN: 1609-4069
DOI: 10.1177/1609406917734471
Rights: © The Author(s) 2017
Creative Commons CC BY-NC: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 License ( which permits non-commercial use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access pages (
The following publication Butcon, J.V. & Chan, E.A. (2017). Certainty in uncertainty: our position on culture, focused ethnography and on researching older people. International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 16, 1-9 is published by Sage Publishing on December 1, 2017 and is available at
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