From chronology to processes: combining biographical interview with episodic analysis in a life story
Life histories allow the researcher to analyze not only the phenomenon in its natural environment and to understand the meaning that people attribute to these phenomena, but also to order these events and meanings in a chronological order and to identify their essential elements (scenarios, characters, processes). In this communication we want to show the methodological process used in the analysis of the life history of a young woman who at the time of the study had achieved a stabilization of the therapeutic process of cannabis dependence. Specifically, two approaches were integrated, narrative and episodic. These two approaches were combined in both data collection and subsequent qualitative analysis. Thus, the interview was conducted at two points in time. At first, an open-ended interview was conducted focusing on the episodes in his life that had revolved around substance use. In a second, more structured interview, specific episodes related in the previous interview were selected and more detailed information was obtained for each of them. For the analysis of the data, biographical analysis techniques were combined with thematic analysis. From this analysis, a biographical account was obtained showing the chronological sequence of events, identifying those events and lived experiences that were present at the beginning, how they developed and what their end was. It was also possible to determine their structurality by analyzing the changes that occurred in the different stages, as well as the main chronological stages. In a second level of analysis, the aspects that emerged at the personal, interpersonal and social levels were identified. All these elements were connected and contrasted with the scientific literature which resulted in a conceptual model. As a conclusion, with the combination of these two techniques and their subsequent analysis, not only do they identify the different vital events within a chronology in time, but they also identify the basic processes that give them meaning.