Queering Data Collection: Using the Life History Calendar Method With Sexual-Minority Youth

Colleen M. Fisher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


A challenge for research with sexual-minority youth is to capture their unique stories in a way that heightens understanding of lived experience and promotes the development of culturally relevant programs and policies tailored for this population. One data collection approach that may be particularly useful for research with sexual-minority youth is the life history calendar (LHC) method. The LHC provides a visual, calendar-based assessment of life events and behaviors anchored by contextual cues to enhance retrospective recall. The purpose of this article is to examine the utility of the LHC method with sexual-minority youth and its potential to address three methodological and conceptual challenges: developmental complexity, shifting and evolving identities, and timing. The LHC method is illustrated using three studies conducted by the author as case examples. Findings suggest that the LHC offers several potential benefits for research with sexual-minority youth including its adaptable and flexible structure, capacity to assess event timing and sequence, mixed-methods capability, and its ability to engage and empower youth to co-create the interview process. Strengths and limitations of the LHC method and implications for research and practice with sexual-minority youth in a range of social service settings are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)306-321
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Social Service Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2013


  • Sexual minority
  • adolescent
  • assessment
  • life history calendar


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