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ABSTRACT: This paper introduces sensory ethnography as a methodology for studying residents' daily lived experience of social determinants of health (SDOH) in place. Sensory ethnography is an expansive option for SDOH research because it encourages participating researchers and residents to "turn up" their senses to identify how previously ignored or "invisible" sensory experiences shape local health and wellbeing. Sensory ethnography creates a richer and deeper understanding of the relationships between place and health than existing research methods that focus on things that are more readily observable or quantifiable. To highlight the methodology in use we outline our research activities and learnings from the Sensory Ethnography of Logan-Beaudesert (SELB) pilot study. We discuss theory, data collection methods, preliminary outcomes, and methodological learnings that will be relevant to researchers who wish to use sensory ethnography or develop deeper understandings of place and health generally.
Health & Place 05/2012; 18(5):1056-67. · 2.42 Impact Factor