Life Story Research: Methods, Theory and Analysis in Exploring Addictions and Substance Misuse with Military Veterans Exposed to the Criminal Justice System within the United Kingdom
Author(s): Richard Mottershead*, Jacqueline Maria Dias, Wegdan Bani Issa, Nabeel Al-Yateem, Fatma Refaat Ahmed, Muhammad Arsyad Subu, Mini Sara Abraham, Mustafa Muhamad Habeb, Nafi Alonaizi and Abbas Al Mutair
This article aims to provide an outline of, and insight of how the lead authors PhD study was theoretically informed primarily by post-positivist thought. This approach will demonstrate the study’s ontological position and the significant epistemological consequences in capturing the lived realities of military veterans. These individuals were exposed to the Criminal Justice System (CJS) and had health and social care needs, inclusive of addictionsand substance misuse. The paper presents the methods used within a 7-year study that adopted an interpretivist approach to gather the various perspectives of veterans (veteran offenders and veteran practitioners) in order to develop an understanding of their life experiences prior to, during military service, and subsequently post-sentence or employment within the CJS. This article provides a methodological focus which would assist in an understanding of the veterans’ (participants’) lives as interpreted by these individuals whilst acknowledging reflexivity due to shared military identities between participant and the lead author (researcher). Finally, the paper demonstrates how life story research and its analysis through thematic approaches can provide insight, whilst also acknowledging and conceptualising some of the challenges that can be overcome through the study’s selected methods to create new knowledge on the lived experiences of military veterans with specific health, social and well-being care needs.