The lifeline technique: its usefulness in the exploration of processes

Cachia, Moira ORCID: (2015) The lifeline technique: its usefulness in the exploration of processes. In: BPS Qualitative Methods in Psychology Section Conference, 2-4 Sept 2015, Cambridge, UK. (Unpublished)

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Purpose: The aim of this oral presentation is to raise the profile of a qualitative research method and its application within research interviews. Its relevance and usefulness to collecting narrative data is presented, drawing on a longitudinal study conducted by the researcher, to illustrate the tool’s strengths and weaknesses. Focus is placed on its ability as a research method, which allows for rich textual data to be collected, and aims to provide some guidance to researchers who are interested in using the lifeline interview technique for their qualitative data collection.
Background: Semi-structured interviews are widely used to obtain qualitative data about participants’ perceptions and interpretation of their experiences. Therefore the lifeline technique effectively complements the nature and purpose of the semi-structured interview. This paper is informed by the presenter’s (researcher’s) experience of utilising this tool to explore the development of employees’ psychological contract with their organisation at initiation of employment. Reference is also made to the limited research articles available about its application within counselling and clinical practice settings.
Methods: A qualitative longitudinal design was adopted in a study examining psychological contract formation and development within an organisational context. (The psychological contract represents the employee’s perception of the employment relationship.) Semi-structured telephone interviews were conducted with 26 participants at 3, 6 and 12 months from entry into the organisation. The collected data was analysed using thematic analysis.
Conclusions: The lifeline technique provides a framework in which the interviewees’ account can be captured in-depth. Participants’ engagement is enhanced through using this method since they are actively involved in marking and classifying key events as positive/negative and then building their stories around these markings which guide the narration of the various aspects within their lived experiences. The result is enhanced participant engagement leading to better quality of the collected data, hence making it a useful tool in research.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Subjects: Psychology
Depositing User: Moira Cachia
Date Deposited: 15 Sep 2015 14:04
Last Modified: 28 Aug 2021 07:18


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