Aim To explore how reciprocity is achieved through a method of self-disclosure, namely story sharing.
Background Self-disclosure through story sharing promotes trusting relationships between researchers and participants that support the collection of high quality data, particularly when participants are members of a marginalised group and may feel especially vulnerable when sharing sensitive information.
Data sources A qualitative study that examined the experiences of lesbian mothers.
Review methods Strategies were carefully and deliberately implemented to engage in story sharing with the participants.
Discussion Participants said that it made a positive difference to how safe and comfortable they felt once they knew at least some of the researcher's story.
Conclusion The collection of rich data is improved by using story sharing as a means of establishing reciprocity in qualitative research.
Implications for practice/research Story sharing has the potential to improve the quality of the data collected in qualitative studies. However, strategies that promote the emotional safety of the researcher in this context will need further exploration.