Storytelling in Focus Group Discussions: A Narrative Approach to Phenomena With Temporal Dimensions in Medical Education Research

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People can express experiences, opinions, and perspectives in stories. In a story, the experiences can be relived and discovered independently of time and place. In medical education, it is a fundamental premise that time progresses, and it is within this temporal space that students learn, acquire competencies, and form identity. It is also within this space that much qualitative research is conducted. However, qualitative examinations at one point in time will result in only a snapshot of a dynamic phenomenon that evolves over time. Existing approaches to qualitative research are often inadequate to accommodate this dynamic development without applying a time- and cost-consuming design such as longitudinal investigations. The purpose of this paper is to present storytelling as a useful research approach to include temporal dimensions in cross-sectional qualitative data collection. We describe the background for the approach, argue for its use, and provide a practical example of storytelling with the use of a fictional character in online focus group discussions to explore a dynamic phenomenon in medical education research. Overall, storytelling offers a narrative approach to qualitative research that allows the researcher to explore phenomena across time and space. The approach has the advantage that it can be used in different formats both oral and written, digital or physical.
TidsskriftInternational Journal of Qualitative Methods
Antal sider10
StatusUdgivet - 2023

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