Using Fiction to Reveal Truth: Challenges of Using Vignettes to Understand Participant Experiences Within Qualitative Research
Keywords:vignettes, qualitative research, authenticity, marginalised communities, socially desired responses
Vignettes are increasingly used within qualitative studies to research difficult topics, requiring ethical mindfulness and sensitivity from researchers. In this article, I examine the methodological issues of incorporating vignettes within qualitative research, specifically my research exploring South Asian maternal experiences of supporting their children with special education needs and disability (SEND). I present participants with seven vignettes concerning the roles of religion, culture, gender and immigrant history. By presenting the participants' responses, I explore the applicability of two ensuing methodological concerns: 1. Are authentic representations useful and straightforward measure of vignette's effectiveness? 2. Do reduced socially desired responses reflect the effectiveness of a vignette? I consider these questions in detail, as well as how addressing the first issue affected my commitment to the second issue. I conclude that vignettes can be a rich point of reference from which participants can exercise agency and actively construct their own understanding of the issues presented in the vignettes.
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Copyright (c) 2019 Sana Rizvi
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