Human life presents many unplanned twists and turns. No one escapes this world without facing adversity of some kind. Therefore, the value in teaching and researching resilience cannot be overstated. This research explores how life story interviewing with interactive methods (also referred to as “elicitation techniques”) provides an invaluable approach to investigating and understanding resilience. Specifically, a stepwise framework is offered for researching resilience as a co-constructed, relational phenomenon. Upon applying this framework through teaching an undergraduate senior seminar, I offer thematic observations of my students’ interviewing experiences to show how life storytelling promotes (a) embodied understandings of resilience, (b) an appreciation for others’ unique differences, and (c) strengthened relationships between interviewees and interviewers. These findings show promise for future teachers and researchers interested in exploring the relational benefits made possible through creative storytelling methods. The methods proposed in this study not only provide a means for exploring conceptualizations of resilience; in and of themselves, they enact resilience.


life story interviewing, elicitation techniques, qualitative methods, resilience, relational, narrative

Author Bio(s)

Dr. Laura Russell is an Associate Professor of Communication at Denison University. Drawn to issues concerning individual and collective well-being, she centers her research on understanding personal, relational, and organizational communication in health contexts. Furthermore, she uses phenomenological and grounded theory approaches to exploring ethical questions concerning the social politics of health, human worth, and healing. Please direct correspondence to russelll@denison.edu.


I offer gratitude to my students for their generous effort towards learning and demonstrating such sincerity throughout the process of our research together.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
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