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Narrative research methods with vulnerable people: Sharing insights

journal contribution
posted on 11.02.2020, 00:00 by AC Framp, Margaret McallisterMargaret Mcallister, Trudy DwyerTrudy Dwyer
BACKGROUND: Families with hereditary illnesses have complex and unique experiences that are important for nurses to understand. In New Zealand, a Maori family predisposed to an aggressive gastric cancer recently participated in research to explore their healthcare experiences. The family constituted a vulnerable group, so the methodology needed to be inclusive and respectful. The authors chose to use narrative research. AIM: To share insights from conducting narrative research with a vulnerable family. DISCUSSION: Narrative research aligns well with nursing values. Numerous aspects of the methodology help to reduce power imbalance, enhance openness and explore wide-ranging experiences. These include: cultural humility; use of conversational cues rather than scripted research questions; the adoption of an empathic, curious stance; and working in partnership. Each of these aspects helps to foster an environment conducive to full exploration of experiences. People's stories are their own, and so researchers need to exercise humility and meticulous safe-keeping of data so that the whole experience is collaborative. When stories are conveyed to others, effort needs to be applied so that lessons are compelling for others and have generative, change-making potential. CONCLUSION: Narrative research is a fitting methodology for nurses researching the experiences of vulnerable populations. Illness can be disempowering, but recounting stories may help participants with healing, adaptation and coping. IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE: New knowledge about illness, recovery and nursing care can be generated using a critical approach to analysis. By gaining a deeper understanding of people's experiences of illness, nurse researchers can co-create and share compelling narratives that may create empathy and change. ©2019 RCN Publishing Company Ltd. All rights reserved. Not to be copied, transmitted or recorded in any way, in whole or part, without prior permission of the publishers.

History

Volume

27

Issue

4

Start Page

42

End Page

47

Number of Pages

6

eISSN

2047-8992

ISSN

1351-5578

Publisher

RCNi, UK

Peer Reviewed

Yes

Open Access

No

Acceptance Date

04/04/2019

External Author Affiliations

University of the Sunshine Coast

Era Eligible

Yes

Journal

Nurse researcher