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Contested IllnessesCitizens, Science, and Health Social Movements$
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Phil Brown, Rachel Morello-Frosch, and Stephen Zavestoski

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780520270206

Published to California Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520270206.001.0001

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Qualitative Approaches in Environmental Health Research

Qualitative Approaches in Environmental Health Research

(p.33) 3 Qualitative Approaches in Environmental Health Research
Contested Illnesses

Phil Brown

University of California Press

This chapter examines qualitative methods used by various environmental health scholars. Qualitative methods are important in enabling community narratives to be constructed and shared. They also provide social scientists with an opportunity to contribute to community activism and advocacy. Not all environmental social-science researchers practice this form of advocacy, but many do. Their work helps create, modify, and present to the world the community narratives of grassroots environmental health research and advocacy that might otherwise remain unknown. While this chapter focuses on in-depth ethnographic studies of contaminated communities, other forms of qualitative methods are also used in environmental health research. These include structured interviewing, focus groups, policy analysis, media analysis, content analysis of documents, and cultural critique.

Keywords:   qualitative methods, community narratives, environmental health research, ethnographic studies, structured interviewing, focus groups, policy analysis, media analysis, content analysis, cultural critique

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