Using joint interviews in a narrative-based study on illness experiences

Qual Health Res. 2013 Nov;23(11):1563-70. doi: 10.1177/1049732313508014. Epub 2013 Oct 11.


Researchers are increasingly recognizing the usefulness of using joint interviews in research on illness experiences. However, there is limited discussion of joint interviews as a data collection method and of the factors that influence the choice to conduct individual or joint interviews. Although there are several advantages and disadvantages of both methods, the reasons that underpin the choice to use joint interviews are often not discussed in detail in the literature. Drawing from a narrative-based study on the experiences of living with motor neuron disease, we present joint interviews as a method sensitive both to the shared experience of illness and to the multiple perspectives around illness. Using interview excerpts, we discuss how through the use of joint interviews researchers can explore the intersubjective and heteroglossic nature of illness experiences. We argue that using joint interviews can offer valuable information about how couples coconstruct meaning and share experiences.

Keywords: disability / disabled persons; epistemology; illness and disease, experiences; interviews; narrative inquiry.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Disabled Persons*
  • Family Characteristics
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Motor Neuron Disease / psychology*
  • Narration*
  • Qualitative Research