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  • Writer's pictureTROY TURNER

U.S. Army Culture: An Intro for Researchers

Engaged in studies or research that includes members of the military? If you've never served, military culture can be both mysterious and an obstacle to your efforts.

The Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences (the DoD's medical school), has produced a book to assist researchers in understanding this culture. The first two paragraphs of the Preface are below, with the link to the entire book below that.


"Groups define themselves in part through shared culture and understand others through perceived similarities and differences. Culture is a pervasive part of our everyday lives, and yet its influence often goes without notice. This oversight is also true for the U.S. Military. Often conceptualized as an occupation rather than a culture, the cultural considerations of military service can be easily overlooked in research settings. Military culture includes a rich collection of symbols, beliefs, values, language, dress, behaviors, relationships, and work. Like other cultures, military culture influences how research is conducted, both in its planning and execution. Understanding the culture of  research participants is essential in successfully answering research questions. For researchers who work with military populations, it is important to appreciate the current stressors of battle (Chapter 8), what it means to keep the chain of command “in the loop” (Chapter 2), and what soldiers’ jobs mean to them (Chapter 3).

This volume focuses on the culture of the U.S. Army. Many of the major points also apply to other military services. The concepts are important for those who desire to understand U.S. Army culture for research — particularly those early in their careers. We hope that this book helps those interested in conducting research in the Army to better navigate what can seem like a foreign land.

For the full publication:

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