Narrative interviewing

Int J Clin Pharm. 2016 Jun;38(3):631-4. doi: 10.1007/s11096-015-0222-0.


Introduction Narrative interviews place the people being interviewed at the heart of a research study. They are a means of collecting people's own stories about their experiences of health and illness. Narrative interviews can help researchers to better understand people's experiences and behaviours. Narratives may come closer to representing the context and integrity of people's lives than more quantitative means of research. Methodology Researchers using narrative interview techniques do not set out with a fixed agenda, rather they tend to let the interviewee control the direction, content and pace of the interview. The paper describes the interview process and the suggested approach to analysis of narrative interviews, We draw on the example from a study that used series of narrative interviews about people's experiences of taking antidepressants. Limitations Some people may find it particularly challenging to tell their story to a researcher in this way rather than be asked a series of questions like in a television or radio interview. Narrative research like all qualitative research does not set out to be generalisable and may only involve a small set of interviews.

Keywords: Narrative interviews; Qualitative research methods.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic / methods*
  • Narration*
  • Qualitative Research*