Research into Presence
We are interested not only in ‘sayings’, in what professionals are willing to tell to an interviewer about their work; we are also interested in their practice, the interplay of ‘doings’, ‘sayings’, ‘involvements’, ‘undergoings’, and artefacts. What professionals do and don’t do is of interest to us, especially concerning professionals who are acknowledged by their clients or patients and their colleagues as good professionals. Presence is not an ideal that we impose on the field, but an existing practice that we look for and often find, in some form or another, in the field. And we do find it in all fields of health care and social welfare.
The research methods we choose are those that are helpful in capturing what professionals do and what they say about what they do. We choose that fit the field of study, the research question(s) and the empirical material that is available or can be constructed. Besides interviewing professionals and patients or clients, we observe professionals closely while doing their work; we follow patients on their trajectory through the institution; we read personal and organisational documents, case reviews, letters of complaint, diaries of family members, incident reports, et cetera. Besides thematic and content analysis, we do (critical) discourse analysis, grounded theory analysis, qualitative heuristics, phenomenological analysis, institutional-ethnographic analysis, narrative analysis, et cetera. Sometimes, qualitative methods are combined with quantitative methods (‘mixed methods’).
(See: Timmerman, G., & Baart, A. (2021. Research Methods for Research on Presence. In E. Du Plessis (Ed.), Thinking about Presence in Nursing: A Guide for Nursing Practice and Research (pp. 90-109))