Methodological insights from a study using video-ethnography to conduct interdisciplinary research in the study of birth unit design
International Journal of Multiple Research Approaches
Little is known about how the physical design of a birthing unit can influence the experiences of labour and birth for women, their supporters and midwives. We proposed that an interdisciplinary approach (disciplines of midwifery, architecture, design, communication and public health) was likely to be the most effective way to better understand the complexities and interactions of design, behaviour, communication and experiences. In this methodological paper we aim to provide a roadmap that
... a roadmap that other researchers may find helpful when considering the use of video as a data collection technique, especially in the study of the powerful and intimate setting of childbirth. The paper also outlines our process for engaging both researchers and participants in reviewing video footage with the aim to contribute multiple perspectives to the analysis process. Key words: birth unit design; interdisciplinary research; video-ethnography; video-reflexive interviewing; women's experiences of labour and birth; midwifery; intimate settings BIRTH UNIT DESIGN RESEARCH USING VIDEO 3 Methodological Insights from a Study Using Video Ethnography to Conduct Interdisciplinary Research in the Study of Birth Unit Design Introduction Building design and interior space have a range of effects on human behaviour and experience. Our environment can influence how we behave, our health and wellbeing, our perception of pain and how we move our bodies (Ulrich, Zimring, Zhu, DuBose, Seo, Choi, Quan & Joseph 2008). The design of the place in which women give birth (the birth space) may also influence the behaviour of women, their supporter/s and care providers (Foureur, 2008; Foureur, Davis, Fenwick, Leap, Iedema, Forbes, & Homer, 2010). Freedom of movement and the ability to manage and work with pain and keep stress levels low are all critical aspects of facilitating normal labour and birth (Walsh 2007). Little is known, however, about how the physical design of a birthing unit can influence a woman's experience of labour and birth (Hodnett, Downe, Walsh, & Westen, 2010). In this paper we describe the methodological process and some of the specific design aspects of a research project that used video ethnography to explore and understand the complexities and interactions of design, behaviour, communication and experiences. In doing so we aim to provide a roadmap that other researchers may use when considering the use of video as a data collection technique, especially in the study of the powerful and intimate setting of childbirth. The paper also outlines our process for engaging both researchers and participants in reviewing video footage and contributing multiple perspectives to the analysis process. In sharing our research approach we explore the challenges of working with a team of researchers from different knowledge traditions, with different questions to ask of the one dataset. The importance of a shared conceptual BIRTH UNIT DESIGN RESEARCH USING VIDEO 4 framework across multiple relationships will be highlighted. In the pursuit of brevity the scope of the article is limited to methodological understandings.