Narrative analysis and research | Basic Explanations

Narrative research is part of human sciences and describes the process of collecting and analyzing stories people are telling about their experiences. Moreover, this qualitative analysis helps to interpret the collected narrative data.
Susanne Friese
Product specialist, trainer and author of the book "Qualitative Data Analysis with ATLAS.ti"
  1. Research methods
  2. Narrative research is set out by the validation of the audience
  3. How to find narratives

Research methods

There are several research methods to be considered and narrative methods are one of the most challenging because there is a wide scope for interpretation. In other words the narrative approaches rely on the written or spoken words or visual representation of individuals. Narrative inquiry observes what and how something is said. Narrative research can be both – a research method and an object of research. Narrative methods can be considered “real world measures” to investigate real life problems. In simple terms the narrative approach encompasses the life story of a person and the meaning of that person's experiences. In most cases, an aggregate of narratives is created that influence each other.

Literature about Narratives in cultures

Narrative research is set out by the validation of the audience.

Narrative analysis and research are part of social science research, but are not always to be considered as a stand alone for evidence and support for the conclusion of a report. Whether as part of a presentation or as an independent work, narrative research has to be seen as independent research and interpretation in its own right. Although every story has been put into its cultural context, the question arises how objective these experiences are. The results of research are influenced by the personal narratives and the varieties of research and interpretation may lead to misunderstandings. Therefore, you have to look carefully at your narrative methodologies to avoid misunderstandings.

Sometimes it is difficult to look at the story objectively. But you have also to put it into its sociocultural context. By this way your data analysis takes several varieties of narrative into consideration and a phenomenon or a story can be viewed from different perspectives. According to this highly complex process narrative methodologies are often used in social science.

Researcher at a narrative analysis

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All forms of narrative research benefit extensively from the special capabilities of a dedicated data analysis tool like ATLAS.ti

Dedicated research software like ATLAS.ti help the researcher to catalog, penetrate and analyze the data generated in a given research project.

How to find narratives

Sometimes it is difficult to find narratives to look at a topic from different perspectives and to form a realistic picture of a situation. It can be found in different media: Spoken narratives such as interviews and audio transcripts or videos are close to reality. But they also depend on the interpretation of the interviewer.