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Method in limbo? Theoretical and empirical considerations in using thematic analysis by veterinary and One Health researchers

Hennessey, Mathew and Barnett, Tony ORCID: 0000-0001-9399-9607 (2023) Method in limbo? Theoretical and empirical considerations in using thematic analysis by veterinary and One Health researchers. Preventive Veterinary Medicine, 221. ISSN 0167-5877

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Identification Number: 10.1016/j.prevetmed.2023.106061


This article spans a number of theoretical, empirical and practice junctures at the intersection of human and animal medicine and the social sciences. We discuss the way thematic analysis, a qualitative method borrowed from the social sciences, is being increasingly used by veterinary and One Health researchers to investigate a range of complex issues. By considering theoretical aspects of thematic analysis, we expand our discussion to question whether this tool, as well as other social science methods, is currently being used appropriately by veterinary and human health researchers. We suggest that additional engagement with social science theory would enrich research practices and improve findings. We argue that considerations of ‘big theory’ - ontological and epistemological positionings of the researcher - and ‘small(er)’ theory, the specific social theory in which research is situated, are both necessary. Our point of departure is that scientific discourse is not merely construction or ideology but a unique and continuing arena of debate, in part at least because of the elevation of self-criticism to a central tenet of its practice. We argue for further engagement with the core ideas and concepts outlined above and discuss them in what follows. In particular, and by way of focusing the point, we suggest that for veterinary, One Health, and human medical researchers to use thematic analysis to its maximum potential they should be encouraged to engage with both broader socio-economic theories and with questions of ontology and epistemology.

Item Type: Article
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Additional Information: © 2023 The Author(s)
Divisions: ?? FLIA ??
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Q Science > Q Science (General)
Q Science > QL Zoology
Date Deposited: 23 Nov 2023 10:42
Last Modified: 15 Apr 2024 20:48

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