Using Timeline Methodology to Visualize Treatment Trajectories of Youth and Young Adults Following Inpatient Opioid Treatment
Monico, Laura B.
Mitchell, Shannon Gwin
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While the use of visual methods in qualitative research is gaining recognition, there has been less attention to timelines. This paper addresses this gap and contributes to the overall literature on qualitative research design and analysis. In a randomized trial of extended release naltrexone for youth with opioid use disorder timelines were used as a part of the semi-structured interview process. Timelines were constructed in a participatory manner in which both youth and their caregivers were separately asked to recount significant events related to substance use, treatment, and criminal justice involvement that took place between interview time points. This paper suggests that using timelines in qualitative, substance use research offers two main advantages: 1) improving the data collection process, and 2) advancing understandings of temporally contextualized narratives through a visual format. Here, timelines were an integral tool for summarizing and illustrating the complexity of youths' experiences following residential drug treatment.