The power of storyboarding as an analytical tool in QES: From review to fieldwork to dissemination
Karin Hannes, KU Leuven, Belgium, Multimodality Methods Group
Taryn Young, Centre for Evidence based Health Care, Stellenbosch University, and Cochrane Africa
Background: Storyboarding in research can be used as a dynamic way to engage in the research process and as a form of data collection. Storyboarding can express a story for both participants and researchers to engage in, and it creates an opportunity between various stakeholders to form a shared language.
Objectives: We aimed to test the utility of the qualitative evidence synthesis (QES) analytical method ‘synthesis by storyboarding’ against the lived experiences of young women living with perinatal infections of HIV (YWLPIHIV).
Methods: As part of a larger study to explore treatment adherence for YWLPHIV, we conducted a QES up to November 2021, which included 47 studies, and synthesized 9 storylines (Hendricks et al. 2022). We analyzed the data using ‘synthesis by storyboarding’. As a second phase, we conducted a primary study. First, we interviewed YWLPHIV about their experiences of their treatment adherence, and then we asked them to edit the QES storyboard to reflect their own lived experiences.
Results: At first, most participants sat in silence, then some had highly emotive responses. We found that each YWLPHIV could relate to elements on the storyboard, including loss of parents, anxiety of disclosure, the emotional rollercoaster of adherence as a teenager, and desire to live without fear of judgement. Even though the storyboard was comprehensive, further detail could be added using their stories.
Conclusions: Storyboarding was found to be a useful analytical method in QES. YWLPHIV found the storyboards to be reflective of their own adherence journeys. This innovative visual synthesis created an opportunity for YWLPHIV to engage in review-level findings, make sense of their own stories, and contribute further insights to the identification of evidence gaps.
Patient, public and/or healthcare consumer involvement: Using storyboarding, the YWLPHIV felt included because they were able to engage in and comment on the review, something they thought impossible at first: “Ek het nooit gedink dat ek die hele ding kan lees nie!” (I never thought I would be able to read this whole thing!). We further used the storyboard as a 1mX1m cloth exhibit on which young women placed their own personal objects that shared their story of adherence for public engagement.