Once Upon A Time…: Story Completion Methods

Clarke, Victoria; Hayfield, Nikki; Moller, Naomi and Tischner, Irmgard (2017). Once Upon A Time…: Story Completion Methods. In: Braun, Virginia; Clarke, Victoria and Gray, Debra eds. Collecting Qualitative Data: A Practical Guide to Textual, Media and Virtual Techniques. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 45–70.

URL: http://www.cambridge.org/gb/academic/subjects/psyc...


This chapter introduces the story completion (SC) method of collecting qualitative data, a novel technique that offers intriguing potential to the qualitative researcher. Since the method is new to qualitative research, it has fewer published research studies than some of the other methods covered in this book. For this reason, the chapter aims not only to provide a description of the method and recommendations for how best to use it, but also to explore some of the unresolved theoretical and practical questions about SC. These questions have been identified by the chapter authors, who comprise the Story Completion Research Group. We are a group of researchers who have come together to share our experience of using and further developing the method (see Box 3.1). Our view is that SC has the potential to ‘reach the parts that other methods cannot reach’ (Pope & Mays, 1995); it therefore has advantages over and above being enticingly resource-lite in terms of data collection, although that in itself is a sizeable benefit.

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