Research for stronger health systems during and after crisis

Using life histories to understand and support health systems and their resilience

Tuesday, 11 Oct 2016

Come and join ReBUILD’s free skills building session

at the 4th Global Symposium on Health Systems Research in Vancouver

Learn and share about the life history approach and its use in qualitative health systems research

When? Tuesday 15th November, 8am – 12pm

Where? 515 West Hastings Street, Vancouver – Room 1420


What is a life history?


It’s a qualitative research method where people are asked to document their life or career over time. It is a personal account of their life, using their own words and personal lifelines.

Why is it useful?

The approach can generate rich data, particularly suited to help understand complex and sensitive situations. Life histories place people at the heart of the research. Using the experiences and realities of community members or health workers can help the development of a resilient and responsive health system.

Timeline from a health worker's life history interview

What will you get from the session?

  • Learn the skills to design, conduct, analyse and use life histories in health systems research.
  • Bring and share your own experiences, if you have used life histories
  • Discuss some challenges in using the approach
  • Help develop a community of researchers and practitioners

Run by members of the ReBUILD research programme consortium, this session will draw on the learning and experience of using the life history approach with community members and health workers in health systems research in post-conflict settings, including Cambodia, Northern Uganda, Sierra Leone and Zimbabwe. We also want to learn about your own experiences of using this method, and share perspectives and resources amongst researchers using or wanting to use this approach.

So if you would like to learn more about this exciting method, or have experience of using the life history approach, and want to be part of a learning community, please come to our session. It promises to be an interactive, informative and fun session.

For more information: contact Joanna Raven ( or Nick Hooton (

Find out more on the 4th Global Symposium on Health Systems Research