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Narrative Research

A group for all those interested in story-telling as research method. Narrative interviews focus on provoking story-telling in order to elicit a person’s own understanding of their own experiences and the world around them.

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Macrostructure Model of Narrative Analysis - Anyone who can help? 2 Replies

Started by Valentina Baú. Last reply by Valentina Baú Aug 26.

previous studies 1 Reply

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Historiographic Metafiction 1 Reply

Started by Ashraf Taha Mohamed Kouta. Last reply by JT Velikovsky Aug 26.

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Comment by Asafa Tafarra Dibaba, PhD on April 2, 2014 at 17:04


Ethnographic and Life History Approaches

(a Case Study based on Chuqala Butta's Personal Narratives)
Cushitic Salale Oromo of Northeast Africa, Ethiopia
Indiana University
Spring 2013 
In this study, using ethnographic and life history approaches, I examine folksongs and narratives of displacement obtained through interview from Chuqala Butta, 92, a Salale Oromo in Ethiopia. Chuqala Butta is a living testimony of displacement and resistance against influences inflicted upon him as a young boy and on the Salale people by the Shawan Amhara rulers. Using this case study, the project undertakes the thesis of folklore used as an emancipatory act against a disempowering situation in Ethiopia and to subvert the overriding memory of conflict-induced displacement. Toward this end, in addition to personal narrative accounts, I posit, folklore can serve as a wellspring of data to better understand the negativistic social transformations from the people’s viewpoints and to examine closely the way such transformations affect individuals, communities, societies and the nation. Analysis of the local dimensions of social transformations, I propose, benefits from close investigation of the life experience of the people,their history from “below” and politics vis-à-vis the (trans)national

Comment by A. D. Prater, Ph.D. on April 2, 2014 at 16:40
Paul-- remember that your question should drive your method more than anything. Not the other way around.
Comment by Paul J Graham on April 2, 2014 at 15:54

Question?  Without having done any analysis of the content, does it make sense that a person could have a primary focus of "Narrative Analysis" ... but... use elements of "Discourse Analysis" as a 'supporting' role?

Comment by Roy Williams on September 27, 2013 at 9:47

@Shubhashnee, we used a variant of Tom Wengraf's approach in the affordances for learning project (, and have developed a new approach for describing learning experience, taking an 'emergent learning' approach (, and out of much of that work came a new chapter on affordances and the new political ecology ( which might be of interest - it references some interesting work by Karin Knorr-Cetina. 

Comment by Shubhashnee Subryan on February 8, 2013 at 18:25

Has anyone ever used narrative interviews as a means of data collection in a phenomenological methodological approach to understand experiences? I would welcome your thoughts in this area. Thanks

Comment by Asafa Tafarra Dibaba, PhD on October 27, 2012 at 16:14

Are you just using interviews with people asking them to tell you their story of their life, and then using that (autobiographic-narrative) material as the basis of some theorisation or account or something by you?

Dear Tom. Thank you for your very thoughtful points.

You are right.  I did not make things clear. In my research I work on the ethnography of local people who challenge domination through creative resistance. Hence, the role of folk narratives (stories and songs) come into play. I collected data (personal narratives and songs) two years back when i was in Ethiopia and from different persons separately (and groups..for songs). Now I am thinking of using those personal narratives and songs to to work on theorizing an indigenous model conceptualizing how ordinary people survive in the face of state structured violence (but through a less-violent way, or through CREATIVE RESISTANCE) and to root those narratives and songs within the resistance culture of the society (what informed the narrative and the narrator has to be established). I hope I am clear. I appreciate your understanding and your patience.

Please see next my sample Article:


Comment by Tom Wengraf on October 25, 2012 at 9:10

I feel that too many words are making things difficult. Are you just using interviews with people asking them to tell you their story of their life, and then using that (autobiographic-narrative) material as the basis of some theorisation or account or something by you? Or are you collecting other (not just interview with them) material about the same person in order to put their autobiographic-narrative interview material in a stronger context? What is the Central Research Question that you want all your material -- whatever you mean by 'Life Histories' plus everything else in the 'other methods' --to answer? I'm afraid that until you make these things a little clearer, there is not enough to go on for other people to be helpful..... Best wishes.. Tom

Comment by Asafa Tafarra Dibaba, PhD on October 25, 2012 at 0:31



I am doing Life Histories as one method in my research. How different are Individual and Collective memories? How are Life Stories  and Life Histories different?" Just that one is 'created' and the other is 'factual'? But informants tell us stories of their LIVED experience...isn't it? And also note Jan van Cina, History is also based on Oral Traditions in oral societies .Thanks 

Comment by Dr. Fibian Lukalo on October 19, 2012 at 22:18

Narrative silences... if the questions follow life-span- eg like the chronic poverty research I am involved in... some participants are unable to continue with the narrative..

Comment by Kemal Taruc on August 10, 2012 at 15:49

Any suggestion or reference on how to apply the method for a research on 'urban consumption?' how and what city people consume, spend, and do their everyday life? Thanks


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