The doctor's tale

Enacted workspace and the general practitioner

Frances Rapport*, Marcus A. Doel, Paul Wainwright

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Citations (Scopus)


The environments and landscapes in which we live and work say much about who we are and how we act, yet there is little in the literature that considers Primary Care professionals' reflections on workspace and its impact on practice. The paper addresses this lacuna by presenting the findings of Phase II of a novel, two-year, mixed-methods study of UK General Practitioner (GP) workspace. Phase II employed photo-biographic-elicitation interviews supported by photobiographic data from Phase I, to examine 8 GPs' understandings of their workspace in relation to professional practice and self-identity. Through distillation and summation of datasets, the paper establishes the pivotal role of workspace in Primary Care. Unlike many qualitative studies, the paper emphasizes ambiguity and difference rather than certainty and similarity as characteristics that prove to be of major significance in understanding the particularity of GP workspace. Like CHAUCER's Canterbury Tales, GPs' individual stories are set as a sequence of tales within what might be called a frame narrative-the overarching narrative of British general practice providing the frame for the particular stories of the practitioners. Although working environments may be similarly structured, how GPs perceive, perform within, and move through their own setting is unique to each.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalForum Qualitative Sozialforschung
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - May 2008
Externally publishedYes

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