Skip to main content

Narrative Research

Abstract

Narrative research aims to unravel consequential stories of people’s lives as told by them in their own words and worlds. In the context of the health, social sciences, and education, narrative research is both a data gathering and interpretive or analytical framework. It meets these twin goals admirably by having people make sense of their lived health and well-being in their social context as they understand it, including their self-belief-oriented stories. Narrative research falls within the realm of social constructivism or the philosophy that people’s lived stories capture the complexities and nuanced understanding of their significant experiences. This chapter presents a brief overview of the narrative research approaches as forms of inquiry based on storytelling and premised on the truth value of the stories to best represent the teller’s life world. The chapter also discusses data collection, analysis, and presentation utilizing narrative analysis. In doing so, this chapter provides illustrative examples applying narrative-oriented approaches to research in the health and social sciences. The chapter concludes by outlining the importance of narrative research to person-centric investigations in which the teller-informant view matters to the resulting body of knowledge.

Keywords

  • Collaboration
  • Lived experience
  • Intersubjectivity
  • Life world
  • Narrative inquiry
  • Storytelling
  • Meaning-making

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Buying options

Chapter
USD   29.95
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
eBook
USD   649.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as EPUB and PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
Hardcover Book
USD   849.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Durable hardcover edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info

Tax calculation will be finalised at checkout

Purchases are for personal use only

Learn about institutional subscriptions

References

  • Andrews M, Squire C, Tamboukou M, editors. Doing narrative research. London: Sage; 2013.

    Google Scholar 

  • Appel D, Papaikonomou M. Narratives on death and bereavement from three South African cultures: an exploratory study. J Psychol Afr. 2013;23(3):453–8.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Atkinson P, Delamont S. Rescuing narrative from qualitative research. Narrat Inq. 2006;16(1):164–72.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Bleakley A. Writing with invisible ink: narrative, confessionalism and reflective practice. Reflective Pract. 2000;1(1):11–24.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Bochner AP. Notes toward an ethics of memory in autoethnographic inquiry. Ethical futures in qualitative research: decolonizing the politics of knowledge. 2007;197–208.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bruner J. Life as narrative. Soc Res. 2004;71(3):691–710.

    Google Scholar 

  • Caracciolo M. Narrative, meaning, interpretation: an enactivist approach. Phenomenol Cogn Sci. 2012;11:367–84.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Clandinin DJ. Engaging in narrative inquiry. Walnut Creek: Left Coast Press; 2013.

    Google Scholar 

  • Clandinin DJ, Connelly FM. Narrative inquiry: experience and story in qualitative research. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass; 2000.

    Google Scholar 

  • Clandinin DJ, Huber J. Narrative inquiry. In: McGaw B, Baker E, Peterson PP, editors. International encyclopaedia of education. 3rd ed. New York: Elsevier; in press.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Clandinin DJ, Rosiek G. Mapping a landscape of narrative inquiry: borderland, spaces and tensions. In: Clandinin DJ, editor. Handbook of narrative inquiry: mapping a methodology. Thousand Oaks: Sage; 2007. p. 35–76.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Clandinin DJ, Murphy MS, Huber J, Orr AM. Negotiating narrative inquiries: living in a tension-filled midst. J Educ Res. 2009;103(2):81–90.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Cochran L. The promise of narrative career counselling. In: Maree K, editor. Shaping the story: a guide to facilitating narrative counselling. Pretoria: Van Schaik; 2007. p. 7–19.

    Google Scholar 

  • Connelly FM, Clandinin DJ. Stories of experience and narrative inquiry. Educ Res. 1990;19(5):2–14.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Connelly FM, Clandinin DJ. Narrative inquiry. In: Green JL, Camilli G, Elmore P, editors. Handbook of complementary methods in education research. 3rd ed. Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum; 2006. p. 477–87.

    Google Scholar 

  • Craig C, Huber J. Relational reverberation: shaping and reshaping narrative inquires in the midst of storied lives and contexts. In: Clandinin DJ, editor. Handbook of narrative inquiry: mapping a methodology. Thousand Oaks: Sage; 2007. p. 251–79.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Creswell JW. Educational research: planning, conducting, and evaluating quantitative. 4th ed. Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall; 2012.

    Google Scholar 

  • Crotty M. The foundations of social research: meaning and perspectives in research process. London: Sage; 1998.

    Google Scholar 

  • Currie G. Narratives and narrators: a philosophy of stories. Oxford: Oxford University Press; 2010.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Denzin NK, Lincoln Y. The landscape of qualitative research: theories and issues. Thousand Oaks: Sage; 2000.

    Google Scholar 

  • Ellis C, Bochner AP. Autoethnography, personal narrative, reflexivity: researcher as subject. In: Denzin NK, Lincoln YS, editors. Handbook of qualitative research. 2nd ed. Thousand Oaks: Sage; 2000. p. 733–68.

    Google Scholar 

  • Ellis C, Bochner AP. Autoethnography, personal narrative, reflexivity: researcher as subject. In: Denzin NK, Lincoln YS, editors. Handbook of qualitative research. 2nd ed. London: Sage; 2005. p. 733–68.

    Google Scholar 

  • Eloff I. Narrative therapy as career counselling. In: Maree K, Ebersohn L, editors. Lifekills and career counselling. Sandton: Heinemann; 2002. p. 129–38.

    Google Scholar 

  • Errante A. But sometimes you’re not part of the story: oral histories and ways of remembering and telling. Educ Res. 2000;29(2):16–27.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Frank AW. Illness and autobiographical work: dialogue as narrative destabilization. Qual Sociol. 2000;23(1):135–56.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Frank AW. Why study people’s stories? The dialogical ethics of narrative analysis. Int J Qual Methods. 2002;1(1):109–17.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Freeman M. Autobiographical understanding and narrative inquiry. In: Clandinin DJ, editor. Handbook of narrative inquiry: mapping a methodology. Thousand Oaks: Sage; 2007. p. 120–45.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Gadow S. Relational narrative: the postmodern turn in nursing ethics. Sch Inq Nurs Pract. 1999;13(1):57–70.

    Google Scholar 

  • Gibson M. Narrative practice and social work education: using a narrative approach in social work practice education to develop struggling social work students. Practice. 2012;24(1):53–65.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Heidari F, Amiri A, Amiri Z. The effect of person-centered narrative therapy on happiness and death anxiety of elderly people. Asian Soc Sci. 2016;12(10):117–26. https://doi.org/10.5539/ass.v12n10p117.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Herman D. Basic elements of narrative. Chichester: Wiley-Balckwell; 2009.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Jeon YH, Kraus SG, Jowsey T, Glasgow NJ. The experience of living with chronic heart failure: a narrative review of qualitative studies. BMC Health Serv Res. 2010;10(77):2–9. https://doi.org/10.1186/1472-6963-10-77.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Kim JH. For whom the school bell toll: conflicting voices inside an alternative high school. Int J Educ Arts. 2006;7(6):1–19.

    Google Scholar 

  • Kim JH, Latta MM. Narrative inquiry: seeking relations as modes of interactions. J Educ Res. 2009;103(2):69–71.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Kim SK, Park M. Effectiveness of person-centered care on people with dementia: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Clin Interv Aging. 2017;12:381–97. https://doi.org/10.2147/CIA.S117637.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Maree JG, Ebersöhn L, Biagione-Cerone A. The effect of narrative career facilitation on the personal growth of a disadvantaged student – a case study. J Psychol Afr. 2010;20(3):403–11.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • McMullen C, Braithwaite I. Narrative inquiry and the study of collaborative branding activity. Electron J Bus Res Methods. 2013;11(2):92–104.

    Google Scholar 

  • Murphy N, Aquino-Russell C. Nurses practice beyond simple advocacy to engage in relational narratives: expanding opportunities for persons to influence the public space. Open Nurs J. 2008;2(40):40–7.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Newby P. Research methods for education. 2nd ed. New York: Routledge; 2014.

    Google Scholar 

  • Ngazimbi EE, Hagedorn WB, Shillingford MA. Counselling caregivers of families affected by HIV/AIDS: the use of narrative therapy. J Psychol Afr. 2008;18(2):317–23.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Ntinda K. Constructing a framework for use of psychometric tests in schools: a consumer-oriented approach. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. Botswana: University of Botswana; 2012.

    Google Scholar 

  • Nwoye A. A narrative approach to child and family therapy in Africa. Contemp Fam Ther. 2006;28(1):1–23.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Rhodes C, Brown AD. Narrative, organizations and research. Int J Manag Rev. 2005;7(3):167–88.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Riessman CK. Narrative methods for the human sciences. Los Angeles: Sage; 2008.

    Google Scholar 

  • Riessman CK, Quinney L. Narrative in social work: a critical review. Qual Soc Work. 2005;4(4):391–412.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Savin-Baden M, Niekerk LV. Narrative inquiry: theory and practice. J Geogr High Educ. 2007;31(3):459–472.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Spector-Mersel G. Narrative research: time for the paradigm. Narrat Inq. 2010;20(1):204–24.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Trahar S. Beyond the story itself: narrative inquiry and autoethnography in intercultural research in higher education [41 paragraphs]. Forum Qual Soc Res. 2009;10(1):Art. 30. http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs0901308.

  • Tsianakas V, Maben J, Wiseman T, Robert G, Richardson A, Madden P, Griffin M, Davies EA. Using patients’ experiences to identify priorities for quality improvement in breast cancer care: patient narratives, surveys or both? BMC Health Serv Res. 2012;12(271):2–11. https://doi.org/10.1186/1472-6963-12-271.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Wang CC. Conversation with presence: a narrative inquiry into the learning experience of Chinese students studying nursing at Australian universities. Chin Nurs Res. 2017;4:43–50.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Wang CC, Geale SK. The power of story: narrative inquiry as a methodology in nursing research. Int J Nurs Sci. 2015;2(2):195–8.

    Google Scholar 

  • Wood K, Chase E, Aggleton P. ‘Telling the truth is the best thing’: teenage orphans’ experiences of parental AIDS-related illness and bereavement in Zimbabwe. Soc Sci Med. 2006;63(7):1923–33.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Zulu NT, Munro N. “I am making it without you, dad”: resilient academic identities of black female university students with absent fathers: an exploratory multiple case study. J Psychol Afr. 2017;27(2):172–9.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Kayi Ntinda .

Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

Copyright information

© 2019 Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd.

About this entry

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this entry

Ntinda, K. (2019). Narrative Research. In: Liamputtong, P. (eds) Handbook of Research Methods in Health Social Sciences. Springer, Singapore. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-10-5251-4_79

Download citation