The persistence of memory: using narrative picturing to co-operatively explore life stories in qualitative inquiry

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Narrative picturing is a creative interviewing technique that can be applied within qualitative research interviews with the aim of enhancing the ‘richness’ of narrative data. This paper describes briefly narrative picturing and its theoretical underpinnings. Whilst using this technique within a dedicated study of people with experience of self-cutting, two key factors emerged in relation to advancing the use of narrative picturing. These were overcoming the inhibitions of the person interviewed and the exploration of personal meaning(s) disclosed during narrative picturing, which were commonly found to be particularly abstract or unprocessed. This paper suggests interviewing techniques aimed at overcoming these potential limitations. Once overcome, narrative picturing appeared to support the exploration and narration of more ‘in-depth’ accounts of lived experience, enhancing understandings of both the person interviewed and the researcher.

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