Fact or fiction: exploring the use of real stories in place of vignettes in interviews with informal carers
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Fact or fiction: exploring the use of real stories in place of vignettes in interviews with informal carers

Julie M Wright Head of health professions department, Faculty of Health, Psychology and Social Care, Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester, UK
Kathryn Heathcote Principal lecturer, Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester, UK
Christopher Wibberley Principal lecturer, Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester, UK

Aim To consider the development and use of real stories rather than vignettes in interviews.

Background Effective interprofessional working critically informed by the perspectives of informal carers was considered by the research team to be under-researched. It was proposed initially to use fictional vignettes as triggers in interviews with informal carers. It could be argued that the vignette does not represent the voice of the individual or may only represent a particular experience. Stories acknowledge a person’s expertise in his or her experiences. A decision was made early in the design process to use real stories instead of vignettes.

Data sources A descriptive naturalistic design using a participatory approach. Two stories were developed by the researcher and two informal carers, and then used in interviews with other carers to explore their experiences and perceptions of interprofessional working.

Review methods The paper provides a discussion of an alternative approach to data collection.

Discussion The stories promoted a sense of support for the participants, which they gained from listening to and sharing stories of caring. This approach offered a different experience for the carers from the standard interview format.

Conclusion The paper describes the use of real stories in interviews, which is not a commonly reported method. Carers were involved in both the development and the use of the stories in the interviews. Those interviewed valued the credibility gained by using these real stories, as opposed to constructed vignettes.

Implications for research/practice Using stories in this way contributes to methodological development, which allows perceptions and experiences to be captured.

Nurse Researcher. 21, 4, 39-43. doi: 10.7748/nr2014.

Peer review

This article has been subject to double blind peer review

Conflict of interest

None declared

Received: 27 February 2013

Accepted: 07 October 2013

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