Qualitative methods in general practice research: Experience from the Oceanpoint Study

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Background. The Oceanpoint Study is a collaborative study between general practice and medical anthropology. Methods. The study involved a qualitative ethnographic approach including long-term participant observation, in-depth interviews, health diaries and focus group discussions. Qualitative methods are suited to describing the phenomenological perspectives of people through the generation of rich detailed accounts which leave participants' perspectives intact, Results. The use of these methods in this study has enabled the researchers to explore a range of community beliefs and practices concerning health and illness. The underlying concerns and approach of general practice medicine are similar to those of the qualitative research tradition. Conclusions. The experience of being a general practitioner parallels the experience of an ethnographer conducting qualitative research and the paper explores the similarities and differences between them and discusses the usefulness of such collaborative research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)310-316
Number of pages7
JournalFamily Practice
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • Ethnography
  • General practice research
  • Qualitative methods

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