Background: U.S. farm women experience poor access to health care and high rates of health disparities. Demographic shifts are increasing isolation and decreasing social capital for these women. Providing locally meaningful health care requires cultural-historical understanding gained through community partnership. Yet, rural farming communities present challenges to establish local-buy-in and participation for research collaboration.
Purpose: This article describes the steps taken to establish an action partnership between rural, farm women and a local researcher, and outlines lessons learned from using participatory approaches to inform ethnographic research.
Sample: Based in an agrarian county in the Northern Great Plains, a partnership between two farm women developed into a research study inclusive of 24 female informants (ages 22-92).
Methods: Ethnographic data (key informant interviews, focus groups, participant observation, artifact review, analytic memos, and reflective field notes) was analyzed thematically and the findings were examined reflexively to discern partnership building and participatory approaches that supported local community engagement with research.
Findings: Promoters of relationship building included: 1) identifying the community gatekeepers, 2) using locally familiar language, 3) using a culturally congruent approach to recruitment, 4) accommodating seasonal farm demands, and 5) capitalizing on enthusiasm and community resolve to build partnerships for action planning.
Conclusion: Local knowledge and sustained community presence are essential for rural nurses to engage in participatory action partnerships with rural farm women.
Keywords: Partnership, engagement, rural farm women, participatory action, ethnography
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share (for non-commerical purposes) the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).