Ethnonursing: A Qualitative Research Method for Studying Culturally Competent Care Across Disciplines

Marilyn R. McFarland, Sandra J. Mixer, Hiba Wehbe-Alamah, Renee Burk


Nurse anthropologist, Madeleine Leininger, developed the culture care theory and ethnonursing research method to help researchers study transcultural human care phenomena and discover the knowledge nurses need to provide care in an increasingly multicultural world. The authors propose that the ethnonursing method can be useful for research that addresses providing care in other disciplines, including education, administration, physical, occupational, and speech therapy, social work, pharmacy, medicine, and other disciplines in which research findings have implications for human care and health. The authors discuss the culture care theory and describe the ethnonursing research method’s enablers, data analysis phases, and qualitative evaluation criteria. The theory is presented as a guide for using research findings to design culturally competent and congruent care to promote well-being among diverse people, groups, communities, and institutions. Resources include a reference list of key source publications, a discussion of exemplar studies, and samples of a theory-based, open-ended interview guide and data coding system.

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