Timeline Drawing Methods

  • E. Anne MarshallEmail author
Reference work entry


Qualitative researchers are continually seeking approaches that will yield in-depth and high-quality interview data. Incorporating a timelining method adds a visual representation related to the experience that can anchor the interview and helps focus the participant on key elements. Timelining can provide participants with a way to engage their stories deeply and even help to create new meanings and understandings. Timelining is particularly appropriate with sensitive and complex topics or when interviewees’ oral language expression is limited due to a variety of circumstances. This chapter begins with definitions and descriptions of timeline methods used in qualitative inquiry. Potential advantages and limitations are discussed and several specific applications illustrate how different methods have been utilized. A five-phase model of the timelining process is proposed: Introduction, Methodological Decisions, Application, Immediate Reflection, and Analysis/Reporting. Finally, future directions and ideas related to timelining methods in qualitative research are suggested.


Complementary research methods Creative research methods Qualitative research methods Timeline drawings Timelines Timelining methods 


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Educational Psychology and Leadership Studies, Centre for Youth and SocietyUniversity of VictoriaVictoriaCanada

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