Data-prompted interviews: Using individual ecological data to stimulate narratives and explore meanings
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Objective: An emerging trend in qualitative research is to use individual participant data to stimulate narratives in interviews. This article describes the method of the data-prompted interview (DPI) and highlights its potential benefits and challenges. Method: DPIs use personal ecological data gathered prior to the interview to stimulate discussion during the interview. Various forms of data can be used including photographs, videos, audio recordings, graphs, and text. This data can be gathered by the researcher or generated by the participant and may utilize ecological momentary assessment. Results: Using individual data in DPIs can stimulate visual and auditory senses, enhance memory, and prompt rich narratives anchored in personal experiences. For the researcher, DPIs provide an opportunity to explore the meaning of the data and to explain data patterns. For the participant, presented stimuli give guidance for discussion and allow them to reflect. The challenges associated with conducting DPIs include practical issues such as data selection and presentation. Data analyses require narratives to be interpreted together with the data. Ethical challenges of DPI include concerns around data anonymity and sensitivity. Conclusions: Combining various sources of data to stimulate the interview provides a novel opportunity to enhance participants' memories and to meaningfully assess and analyze data patterns. In the context of health promotion and illness prevention, DPI offers a unique opportunity to explore reasons, opinions, and motivations for health-related behaviors in the light of previously gathered data.
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