A description of participant observation of clinical teaching


  • Catherine M. Robertson BA RGN RNT

    1. Lecturer in Nursing Studies, Department of Molecular and Life Sciences, Dundee College of Technology, Dundee, Scotland
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As part of a study of clinical teaching in which I am currently engaged, it was necessary to try to discover what clinical teachers do, as opposed to what they say they do, or what other people think they ought to do. In order to obtain this information I arranged several periods of observation of a number of different clinical teachers. Prior to arranging these observations, which were carried out over a period of about 2 years, I carried out a literature search in order to discover what had been other people's experience in using this research method. In the following pages I have tried to describe the various types of observation that are commonly used, and to summarize the problems which have been discussed in the literature, illustrating and amplifying these points from my own experience.