What method is this? Combining a narrative with group reflection: An evaluation of a novel data collection method

Sinead Katherine Kado, Jane Bolster, Judy McKimm

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference presentation/ephemerapeer-review


We all know the time-honoured qualitative data collection methods of semi-structured interviews and focus groups. Is there a place for combining these methods to gather more nuanced perspectives? Our research utilised a narrative-based enquiry combining ‘telling your story’ followed by group reflection, focussing on gathering the perspectives of a global group of HPE leaders on becoming and being an HPE leader in different contexts.
Summary of work
Following an online international HPE leadership course, and ethics approval, 12 participants from around the globe volunteered. Monthly Zoom meetings were held. One participant shared their leadership story, guided by a set of questions, for 30 minutes followed by 30 minutes dedicated to clarifying questions, reflections and group discussion, facilitated by the research lead. Each month between 3-8 participants engaged in the group narrative reflection process.
Summary of results
This presentation focuses on the affordances and constraints of this method. The narrative stories were enlightening, sparking questions, observations and insights from the other participants. Shared aspects of leadership were reflected on and discussed. This afforded the researchers greater insight into HPE leadership from a global perspective. Additionally, the research process enabled a community of practice and support. However, constraints included waning attendance due to time differences, schedules and difficult internet access. Researching by Zoom allowed global access to participants but reduced the ability to build rapport and commitment to the research for some.
Discussion and conclusion
Reflection is central to understanding the nuances of professional practice, developing self-insight and making change. This novel data collection method allowed individuals to reflect on their leadership stories both individually and collectively. Enabling one participant to share their story in a semi-structured way, which was then reflected on by a group of peers, led to a greater depth of richness in the data. Despite the constraints, we identified aspects that resonated across all leaders, notwithstanding their different contexts and found combining the precepts of narrative enquiry with group reflective conversation enhanced the data collection tools. To improve attendance consideration of an initial face-to-face meeting may assist. In future, deliberating the combination of traditional qualitative methods in novel ways could enable more nuanced perspectives to be revealed.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jun 2023
EventAustralia and New Zealand Association of Health Professions Educators - ANZAHPE 2023: Turning Tides, Navigating the Opportunities - Gold Coast, Australia
Duration: 26 Jun 202329 Jun 2023
Conference number: 50


ConferenceAustralia and New Zealand Association of Health Professions Educators - ANZAHPE 2023
Abbreviated titleANZAHPE 2023
Internet address


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