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event analysis, observational research methods, qualitative methods



  1. Happ, Mary Beth PhD, RN
  2. Swigart, Valerie PhD, RN
  3. Tate, Judith MSN, RN
  4. Crighton, Margaret H. MSN, RN


Event analysis (EA), a qualitative research technique adapted from the fields of anthropology and sociology, can be used to describe and explain social interactions and behaviors associated with complicated clinical situations. Event analysis is useful in limiting the focus of data collection in complex settings and in obtaining and managing multiple perspectives about an event of interest while situating the event within appropriate social and environmental contexts. This article reviews contemporary uses of EA in clinical nursing research, describes the modification and application of EA techniques to common methods of data gathering (observation, interview, and document review) in clinical settings, and presents recommendations for conducting EA in clinical settings by using exemplars from a current study.