Conceptualizing and critiquing culture in health research

J Transcult Nurs. 2004 Oct;15(4):269-77. doi: 10.1177/1043659604268963.


Given the growing diversity of U.S. society, the federal mandates for health research with multicultural populations, and persistent confusion about the concept of culture, the purpose of this article is to present various definitions and biases of culture as found in current nursing research. By addressing various definitions and biases, the debates can help investigators become more culturally sensitive, avoid serious pitfalls, and eventually ensure the provision of culturally competent health care. Authors familiar with concepts of culture in research recommend investigators use culture in their health research, including strengthening research designs, embedding culture into research models, using culture-sensitive instruments, employing emic perspectives, and replicating interventions across diverse and changing populations.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anthropology, Cultural
  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Attitude to Health / ethnology
  • Bias
  • Cross-Cultural Comparison
  • Cultural Diversity*
  • Data Collection
  • Data Interpretation, Statistical
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Models, Nursing*
  • Nursing Research / organization & administration*
  • Prejudice
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Research Design / standards
  • Research Personnel / psychology
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Stereotyping
  • Transcultural Nursing / organization & administration
  • United States