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Journal Article

The Culture of Translational Science Research: Participants’ Stories

Joseph A. Kotarba, Kevin Wooten, Jean Freeman and Allan R. Brasier
International Review of Qualitative Research
Vol. 6, No. 1 (Spring 2013), pp. 127-142
DOI: 10.1525/irqr.2013.6.1.127
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Page Count: 16
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The Culture of Translational Science Research
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We apply a symbolic interactionist framework and a qualitative methodology to the examination of the everyday reality of translational science research (TSR). This is a growing scientific movement that aims to facilitate the efficient application of basic research to clinical service design and delivery. We describe the emerging culture of translational research at a mid-size medical center that received a Clinical and Translational Science Award from the National Institutes of Health. The stories related by scientists, clinicians, and students in interviews indicate that they make sense of the emerging inter- and cross-disciplinary, team-oriented culture of TSR through the refinement and redefinition of the significant symbols that inform their work while they attempt to master translational research by addressing the dilemmas it produces for them and their work. We see the strength, currency, adaptability, and energy of the core self-definition of “scientist” to be significant in shaping the emerging culture of translational research. We conclude by celebrating the value of interpretive ethnography for evaluation research.

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