Qualitative Story Completion for Counseling Psychology Research: A creative method to interrogate dominant discourses

Moller, Naomi; Clarke, Victoria; Braun, Virginia; Tischner, Irmgard and Vossler, Andreas (2020). Qualitative Story Completion for Counseling Psychology Research: A creative method to interrogate dominant discourses. Journal of Counseling Psychology (In press).

Abstract

Qualitative story completion (SC) research involves the novel qualitative application of a technique previously used in quantitative research and clinical assessment, in which participants write stories in response to a story “stem” designed by the researcher. The resulting stories are analysed to identify patterns of meaning using conventional qualitative analytic approaches such as thematic analysis. In place of the more typical self-report methods used in qualitative research, such as interviews or focus groups, the method provides a categorically different way to explore a topic, one which can offer new understandings to counseling psychology researchers. In particular, SC’s capacity to illuminate social discourses makes it particularly useful for understanding the potential ways in which socially marginalized populations are understood in therapeutic spaces as well as for understanding how clients of all kinds may make sense of therapeutic interactions. This paper provides an introduction to qualitative SC, explaining the method and its origins, and offering practical guidance about how to use it. The method is illustrated with examples from the existing SC literature and a hypothetical study focussed on understandings of mental health difficulties in the workplace.

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