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life change events, nursing methodology research, qualitative research



  1. Gramling, Lou F.
  2. Carr, Rebecca L.


Background: Life histories are data collection strategies that detail an individual's life Lifelines are a visual depiction of a life history, displaying events in chronological order and noting the importance, or meaning, of events.


Approach: A sample lifeline from a study of young women's developmental transitions used to demonstrate the application of this technique to nursing research. A review life histories as well as lifeline techniques, analysis, and applications is included.


Discussion: Life history has been used extensively as a data collection method research, theory development, and clinical practice. The lifeline facilitates recollection and sequencing of personal events. The lifeline activity can be triangulated with other data collection methods such as interviews and focus groups to confirm and complete a life history or to place a particular research construct or clinical problem in the con text of other events.