Are Pseudo-Patient Studies Justified?
Journal of Medical Ethics. 1982 Jun; 8(2): 65-71.
Pseudo-patient studies are those in which a medical sociologist or anthropologist gains access to a medical setting by masquerading as a patient and covertly observes the treatment process and interaction between staff and patients. Important studies of the mentally ill and terminally ill have been done this way, but many researchers question whether the method is justified. Using the well-known Rosenhan (1973), Buckingham (1976), and Caudill (1952) studies as examples, Bulmer outlines the arguments for and against the use of the pseudo-patient approach. He concludes that while other methods of investigation are preferable, the careful use of pseudo-patient studies cannot be ruled out. (KIE abstract)
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