The Interpretive Approach as a Means of Understanding the Misunderstood

Molloy, D. (2016) The Interpretive Approach as a Means of Understanding the Misunderstood. International Institute for Qualitative Methodology Qualitative Methods Conference, Glasgow, UK, 3-5 May 2016.

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The interpretive approach as a means of understanding the misunderstood. People’s experiences of health and illness are important areas of health research and practice. The interpretive process, and more significantly the biographical approach (Denzin, 1989) is an approach in which there is a focus on personal epiphanies which shape and reflect the stories people tell of their experiences. Dolby-Stahl (1985) contends stories of personal experience sit within the genre of folklore and that the reading of such stories must take into account the social, cultural and historical contexts which influence and give meaning to experience. This presentation describes a folkloristic biographical method which was used to advance an understanding of a poorly understood and complex phenomenon. Using the example of women genetically predisposed to developing breast/ovarian cancer who refused risk reducing surgery, this innovative methodological approach allowed the stories of high risk women to be interpreted from a number of different perspectives as no single interpretation is able to create meaning. This approach was useful in understanding the range of influences which impact upon health behaviours. Giving voice to women at high risk of developing cancer who refuse conventional treatment can be considered a collaborative approach which grounds the creation of new knowledge in real life experience. The weaknesses of employing traditional ways of measuring and investigating reasons for saying no to risk reducing surgery in this group of women are outlined, and used to develop the strengths of the biographical method.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Molloy, Dr Doreen
Authors: Molloy, D.
Subjects:R Medicine > RT Nursing
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Medicine, Dentistry & Nursing > Nursing and Health Care

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