The following is a modified excerpt from Applied Qualitative Research Design: A Total Quality Framework Approach (Roller & Lavrakas, 2015, pp. 298-300).
Narrative research investigates the stories of what narrative researchers call “lived experiences.” These may be firsthand experiences of individuals, groups, organizations, and even governments. Regardless of the entity, it is the story that is the case or object of attention and the focal point of the research. Unlike the structured or semi-structured in-depth interview (IDI), where the interviewer–interviewee relationship is directed by the researcher’s question agenda that serves to extract information from the interviewee, the narrative researcher allows the narrator (i.e., the interviewee in narrative research) to be the guide, welcoming the narrator’s stories wherever they may lead, by conducting a form of unstructured IDI whereby the researcher makes broad inquiries such as, “Tell me what happened when you joined the Army,” “Tell me about your life as a health care worker,” “Tell me how you became a regular coffee drinker.”*
The belief in narrative research is that it is the narrated story—whether told orally, via some form of text or documents, and/or through the use of visual data (e.g., photographs, video, drawings)—that allows researchers to learn about individuals, society, and history, and that, indeed, “narrative inquiry [is] the study of experience as story” (Clandinin, Pushor, & Orr, 2007, p. 22).
For the most part, there are three (not mutually exclusive) ways to consider narrative inquiry, by the type of:
- Narrative being studied: for example, life history, life story, biography, autobiography, or autoethnography.
- Analytical approach used by the researcher: for example, thematic, structural, dialogical/performance, or visual (Riessman, 2008).
- Scholarly discipline applied to the research: for example, psychology, sociology, or education.
The variations of narrative research across fields of study demonstrate that there is no one way to think about narrative inquiry and, indeed, the three delineated types of approaches—narrative, analytical, and discipline—are often co-mingled. For example, various factions of psychology have embraced the use Read Full Text