The HABRI Foundation is calling for research proposals to investigate the health outcomes of pet ownership and/or animal-assisted activity or therapy, both for the people and the animals involved. To learn more, visit close

You are here: Home / Journal Articles / Chaos in the Clinic: Applications of Choas Theory to a Qualitative Study of a Veterinary Practice / About

Chaos in the Clinic: Applications of Choas Theory to a Qualitative Study of a Veterinary Practice

By Eleanor Craven Brennan

View Link (HTM)

Licensed under

Category Journal Articles

This paper is the result of a twelve hour participant observation study of a local, private veterinary practice in southeastern Pennsylvania. Field notes and semi-structured interviews, the result of naturally occurring conversation between me and practice members, were taken over a twelve week period, one hour of site visit each week. Using a grounded theory methodology, categories of social interaction among veterinarians, veterinary technicians, clerical staff, owners and animal clients were assembled, discarded and re-assembled. The resulting categories were analyzed using the conceptual framework of chaos theory and the principles of uncertainty. It appears that the most striking feature of the intra-site analysis centers around the chaotic notion of similarity of patterns or fractals, those patterns that repeat at smaller and smaller scales. In this micro-sociological analysis, these patterns or fractals are presented as behavior patterns within this veterinary practice. The analysis of the similarity of behavior is based on intra-practice comparative data of roles and status and gender. The triangulation of owner, veterinary worker and animal is a fascinating one; from a chaotic perspective it is a subject ripe with the possibilities of patterned order within disorder.


Katie Carroll

Date 1997
Publication Title The Qualitative Report
Volume 3
Issue 2
Publisher Nova Southeastern University
Language English
Additional Language English
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal welfare
  2. Clinics
  3. Health
  4. Veterinarians
  5. veterinary care
  6. veterinary practices