This article draws on crystallization, a qualitative framework developed by Laurel Richardson and Laura Ellingson, to show the potential of using sociological narratives and creative writing to better analyze and represent the lived experiences of loneliness among older people living in Australian care homes. Crystallization uses a multi-genre approach to study and present social phenomena. At its core is a concern for the ethics of representation, which is critical when engaging with vulnerable populations. We use two case studies from research on loneliness to illustrate an application of crystallization through different narrative types. To supplement our sociological narratives, we invited author Josephine Wilson to write creative narratives based on the case studies. Josephine was awarded the prestigious Miles Franklin Literary Award in 2017 for Extinctions, a novel exploring themes such as later life and loneliness. By contrasting the two approaches—sociological and creative narratives—we discuss the implications of crystallization for qualitative research.
Barbosa Neves, B., Wilson, J., Sanders, A., & Kokanović, R. (2023). Using crystallization to understand loneliness in later life: integrating social science and creative narratives in sensitive qualitative research. Qualitative Research, 23(1), 38–54. https://doi.org/10.1177/14687941211005943
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