This information about research methodology was shared at the International Mental Health Nursing Research Conference by Allison Bentley, Lead Research Nurse for Lewy body dementia at Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust. This is part of a study funded by The Lewy Body Society focusing on the narrative stories of people living with Lewy body dementia and their family carers.
Analysing the personal experience of couples living and dying with Lewy body dementia.
Narrative research methods invite people to share their experiences via storytelling. This may occur through oral, written, or visual accounts. There is increasing interest within nursing as to how qualitative narrative inquiry can provide greater understanding into people’s health issues, particularly within the field of dementia care. However, narrative research is an emerging and evolving field with no single, well-defined approach to data analysis (Meraz et al., 2019).
To provide a worked example of a narrative psychology approach to analysis and its application to longitudinal interviews conducted with people living with Lewy body dementia and their spouse.
Five people living with Lewy body dementia and their spouses took part. Data collection involved three narrative interviews with each couple over a six month period. The approach to narrative data analysis depends on researcher perspective, other literature in the field, and the underlying theory used to guide the choice of research questions. This interpretivist, phenomenological experience-centred methodology draws from the health psychology discipline and is based on Murray’s four levels of narrative analysis (Murray, 2000). These different levels seek to illuminate the complexity of health and illness narratives at work in stories and include the personal, interpersonal, positional and societal levels. Providing a worked example highlights the co-construction of stories which are interactively produced and influenced by both the researcher and the teller (Riessman, 2008). Analysing connections between the four levels, how to articulate this across different interview time points and the time required for in-depth analysis are challenges to consider.
Applying Murray’s four levels of narrative analysis with longitudinal narrative interviews offers clinical and academic insight into the personal experiences of people living with Lewy body
dementia. Despite the challenges, this approach adds to a more robust, richer understanding of the lived experience, and offers a strategy to inform the quality and validity debate within narrative research.
For further information, please email Allison on firstname.lastname@example.org.