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Illness narratives in practice: Which questions do we have to face when collecting and using them? 

Illness narratives in practice: Which questions do we have to face when collecting and using them?
Chapter:
Illness narratives in practice: Which questions do we have to face when collecting and using them?
Author(s):

Gabriele Lucius-Hoene

, Martina Breuning

, and Cornelia Helfferich

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780198806660.003.0002
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date: 27 July 2021

Illness narratives—first-person stories about experiences with illness—have become highly popular as research data and as practical instruments, and are used and exploited in many health-related contexts. However, their epistemological properties and problems concerning the relation of their content to events and realities are often neglected when these stories are taken as direct representations of what happened. This chapter exposes why the reflection of these properties and their relation to their use in research or practical contexts is crucial. It expands on three different approaches of handling the epistemological and methodical questions: a ‘naturalistic’ approach, an experiential approach, and a performative approach. Each approach demands different criteria and guidelines to deal with the questions of truth or authenticity as well as with the observance of their context of origin according to the purposes users have in mind.

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