Critical Ethnography, Cultural Safety, and International Nursing Research

  • Jean N. Harrowing University of Lethbridge
  • Judy Mill University of Alberta
  • Jude Spiers University of Alberta
  • Judith Kulig University of Lethbridge
  • Walter Kipp University of Alberta


Critical qualitative methodology provides a strategy to examine the human experience and its relationship to power and truth. Cultural safety is a concept that has been applied to nursing education and practice and refers to interactions that acknowledge and respect the unique cultural background of patients. It recognizes power inequities between caregivers who belong to dominant cultures and patients who may belong to oppressed groups. Culture is interpreted from a critical constructivist perspective as a fluid relational process that is enacted contextually. The purpose of this paper is to examine the congruence between and among Carspecken’s (1996) methodology, cultural safety, and the conduct of nursing research in low- and middle-income countries by nurses from high-income countries. It is argued that if cultural safety is important and relevant to education and practice, then it might be appropriate to address it in research endeavors.

Author Biographies

Jean N. Harrowing, University of Lethbridge
Assistant Professor, Faculty of Health Sciences
Judy Mill, University of Alberta
Professor, Faculty of Nursing
Jude Spiers, University of Alberta
Associate Professor, Faculty of Nursing
Judith Kulig, University of Lethbridge
Professor, Faculty of Health Sciences
Walter Kipp, University of Alberta
Professor, School of Public Health