What is Qualitative Research?

Dr. Fiona Webster is an Associate Professor in the Labatt Family School of Nursing at Western University and has held a status cross-appointment in the Institute of Health Policy Management and Evaluation, University of Toronto, since 2010. She holds a PhD in Sociology in Equity Studies from the University of Toronto, where she trained in an approach known as institutional ethnography (IE). She is an Academic Fellow with the Centre for Critical Qualitative Health Research (CQ) and has designed and taught several graduate courses in qualitative methodology and conducted over 50 workshops on this topic to clinical teams. She has successfully led many CIHR and SSHRC funded interdisciplinary research teams with a particular emphasis on the social organization of care for patients with chronic pain using qualitative approaches. The focus of this work has increasingly been on mapping the intersections between social inequities and health. She has published over 80 peer reviewed articles in clinical journals and has held many awards for teaching and research, including a CIHR New Investigator Award (2014-2019). She has also published a recent book that uses IE to explore how a `best practice’ is developed, translated, and taken up in medical practice across various sites. This work makes visible some of the assumptions and hidden priorities underlying the current emphasis on translating scientific knowledge in medicine into practice (Fiona Webster 2020. The social organization of best practice: an institutional ethnography of physicians’ work. Palgrave MacMillan).