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Even though rapid methods are not new, two recent reviews on the use of rapid qualitative methods in healthcare have shown a recent increase in their popularity (Johnson and Vindrola-Padros 2017; Vindrola-Padros and Vindrola-Padros 2018). One of the main findings of both reviews, however, was the prevalence of gaps in the reporting of the study design and process of implementation. The authors called for the development of guidelines or a reporting framework to ensure rapid research has a robust design and is reported in detail in publications. One of the topics of Chapter 8 is future plans to develop these standards. The chapter also explores recent developments in methodological innovation that have resulted in new ‘spin-offs’ of rapid ethnographies and a proposal for the development of training programmes on the topic. The chapter ends with an agenda for the future development of the field of rapid ethnography.
Chapter 7 outlines the strategies that can be used throughout all stages of the research to maximise its impact. It highlights the importance of developing groups of stakeholders who can act in an advisory capacity throughout the study, ensuring the study is relevant, but also facilitating the incorporation of findings into changes in practice. The chapter also proposes the establishment of regular feedback loops, where findings from the study are shared on a continuous basis and not only after the study has ended. The frequency and format of feedback is also discussed and the chapter proposes different alternatives for disseminating information (i.e. traditional written reports, infographics, videos, podcasts, etc.).
Chapter 4 is based on more recent rapid ethnographic approaches for lone researchers: quick ethnographies proposed by Handwerker (2001), focused ethnographies proposed by Knoblauch (2005) and short-term ethnographies proposed by Pink and Morgan (2013). A step-by-step guide for designing and implementing these types of ethnographies is included as well as a discussion of the benefits and limitations of using these approaches. This chapter also includes three case studies, one for each type of rapid ethnography and a description of a rapid ethnography I carried out.
Chapter 2 presents the key debates in the field of rapid ethnography and the assumptions associated with conventional ethnographic research. This chapter discusses the particular characteristics of rapid ethnographies. The chapter engages with discussions on epistemology, the role of theory and reflexivity in ethnographic research and the role these occupy in rapid ethnographies. These have been limitations identified by proponents of focused ethnographies (Knoblauch 2005) and short-term ethnographies (Pink and Morgan 2013), so this chapter seeks to provide evidence of how rapid ethnographies can also engage with theory and the reflective practice that characterises more 'traditional' forms of ethnography.
Chapter 3 presents an overview of work carried out prior to the emergence of rapid ethnographies. It briefly goes over approaches such as rapid rural appraisals (RRA), participatory rural appraisals (PRA), rapid ethnographic assessments (REA), rapid assessment procedures (RAP), rapid assessment response and evaluation (RARE), rapid appraisals, rapid qualitative inquiry (RQI) and rapid evaluation. The purpose of the chapter is to situate rapid ethnographies within a wider field of rapid research, demonstrating the diversity of approaches and their rich history. The chapter also makes comparisons across rapid approaches to highlight their characteristic features and trends that have developed in the way in which we do rapid research.
The purpose of this chapter is to provide you with definitions and the characteristic features of rapid research. It proposes a threshold for distinguishing rapid research from long-term research, while also problematising distinctions based purely on the duration of the study. An important aspect of the chapter is to help you identify when rapid research is suitable and useful. The chapter also briefly explores the main challenges of carrying rapid research, such as: maintaining a clear theoretical grounding of the research despite time pressures, dealing with the tension between the breadth and depth of data, addressing potential issues with sampling where recruitment might be limited to those who are most accessible, devoting limited time to reflexivity, and addressing potential delays in the management and governance of the research. These challenges are explored in greater detail in the rest of the chapters.
Chapter 5 follows a similar process, but for team-based ethnographies. In this chapter, I introduce you to team-based focused ethnographies, rapid site-switching ethnographies and a specific approach developed for ethnographic research in the context of clinical trials called RAPICE (Palinkas and Zatzick 2019). I present step-by-step guides for the design and implementation of these approaches and discuss the particular challenges of carrying out rapid ethnographies as a team. I also describe a rapid ethnography our team carried out recently.