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Papers of the Week

Papers: 5 Aug 2023 - 11 Aug 2023

Clinical, Methodology, Psychology

Human Studies


2023 Aug 04

Qual Health Res


Participant-Generated Timelines: A Participatory Tool to Explore Young People With Chronic Pain and Parents’ Narratives of Their Healthcare Experiences.


Hurtubise K, Joslin R


Visual methods are becoming more evident in health research. Timeline drawings have been used as a participatory tool alongside interviews in life course research. In this article, we describe how a method involving timeline generation can explore patient experiences along a treatment continuum. Grounded in previously published evidence and using specific examples from two studies exploring the experiences of young people treated for chronic pain, we outline the key components of this method. Moreover, we highlight the flexibility of its application and the importance of using a person-centered approach in tailoring the application pragmatically to study population-specific needs and characteristics, while answering the research question. We also reflect on how the dynamic visual display of the timeline and participants’ explanations add perspective and understanding to complex and multidimensional human experiences associated with healthcare treatment. Furthermore, we outline how this method can help capture changes in the meaning and sense-making of these experiences over time, all the while fostering empowerment in study participants. Finally, the key considerations of using the method are outlined. It is our aim that this article provides the details required to inspire others to consider this novel method as a means of capturing the healthcare experiences of young people with other chronic conditions, an important first step in fostering the changes required to improve the quality of healthcare services and research.