Literature Search II

The research article that I selected for the discussion addresses the issue of societal context of migrant health in the United States. The ethnographic approach to qualitative research was utilized in the study. The method was developed in the field of anthropology but is now applied in other areas of study (Hammersley, 2016). The ethnographic approach seeks to investigate a culture or part of a culture in great depth. The method differs significantly from other approaches. A researcher (ethnographer), spends a long period of time (minimum of one year) living with the population that they are studying (Hammersley, 2016). Spending a lot of time with the target group helps the ethnographer collect detailed information, build rapport with the group, and gain the cultural context needed to interpret the received data (Hammersley, 2016). Observations are essential to data collection. The researcher becomes a part of the population that they are studying and observe as they participate in daily activities.

The selected research article is titled “An Ethnographic Study of the Social Context

of Migrant Health in the United States” (Holmes, 2006). Seth M. Holmes wrote the article. Holmes was concerned about the poor health of migrant workers in the US and decided to conduct an ethnographic study to help understand the phenomenon. He wanted to investigate the social context of immigrant farm employees that impacted their health and access to healthcare. Holmes (2006) used interviews and observations to collect data from the target population on farms where they worked and in clinics. Data collection was conducted throughout 15 months (Holmes, 2006). The selected group was a Triqui Mexicans who live in Mexico and western parts of the US (Holmes, 2006).  The researcher observed that anti-immigrant practices and structural racism contributed to the poor health of immigrant farm workers. The workers had poor working and living conditions compared to other workers. The type of work assigned and houses were influenced by citizenship and ethnicity.

Holmes set out to investigate a crucial phenomenon. It is vital to ensure that immigrants do not suffer health-wise due to preventable social issues. Evidence from the study shows clearly that anti-immigration and structural racism contribute to the poor working and living condition of immigrants and that impacts their health negatively. There are, however, some other social issues that Holmes (2006) did not address that also affect immigrants working and living condition. Desperation and Low-bargaining power, for example, may cause immigrant employees to agree to working and living in poor conditions that negatively affect their health. It would have been essential to address such factors to understand better all the social factors that have to be dealt with in improving immigrants’ health.


Hammersley, M. (2016). Reading ethnographic research. Routledge.

Holmes, S. M. (2006). An ethnographic study of the social context of migrant health in the United States. PLoS medicine3(10), e448.