The author explains research design, a design sought to link micro individual life histories to macro social structures, and reflect on the author's decisions and challenges encountered during the fieldwork process in relation to the development of service user knowledge of Chinese communities. The author used life history interviewing as a method because it addresses the temporal dimension of recovery journeys and generates information about the social contexts of participants. Mills argues that sociological works, and intellectual works in general, are inseparable from researchers' own biographies and life experiences. Preparation for fieldwork also included language and translation issues relevant to the data collection. Publicity, an introduction to the research and a consent form were produced in two sets of bilingual language, one with simplified Chinese and English and the other with traditional Chinese and English. Participants were recruited through community organisations serving Chinese communities rather than the National Health Service.