Use of Writing Letters and Other Literature Forms to Capture Experiences of Research Participants

Kathryn Hinsliff-Smith*, Julie McGarry, Moreoagae Bertha Randa, Heike Bartel, Gill Langmack

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Within any form of qualitative research, the researcher’s role is to help the participant share their experiences and to translate and convey the messages often as interview themes and findings. However, often these traditional qualitative approaches to research are not appropriate and may cause undue distress and anxiety to the participant and also to the researcher, for example, with any traumatic or life-affecting experience as is often seen within healthcare, such as receiving a terminal diagnosis or survivor stories. Letters and other written forms are a really useful medium to engage with patients who may find this approach less intrusive, less intimidating and more acceptable to participate in. In this chapter the authors will share the experiences of letter writing used when working with survivors of sexual violence, a topic that is not easily spoken about by survivors who are often women and girls.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationArts Based Health Care Research
Subtitle of host publicationA Multidisciplinary Perspective
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9783030944230
ISBN (Print)9783030944223
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2022


  • Letters
  • Sexual violence
  • South Africa
  • Survivors
  • Women and girls
  • Written accounts


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