Quantitative research

Interview method for narrative research

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    Hello everyone, I am about to embark on a mixed method study of university students who have mental health problems. One aspect of the study is to explore through interviews and analyse through narrative analysis, the experiences that university staff have when working with students they believe has a mental disorder. What I’m looking for are papers that can explain how to set about framing the interview questions in order to yield stories from participants, and how to establish a climate so that storytelling is able to flow. I would really appreciate your thoughts and referrals. Margaret

    Jocelyn Campbell

    I found “The Problem Centred Interview” by Andreas Witel and Herwig Reiter to be helpful for this. There is a free download available for the Biographic Narrative Interview Method, BNIM as well. I am hoping to use their ideas when constructing my interview format and questions.

    Tom Wengraf

    My own input is rather predictable. I have written a textbook (2001: Qualitative social research: biographic narrative and semi-structured method’. As far as framing the questions of a semi-pre-structured interview, many of the chapters in that book are concerned with that. As far as narrative questioning is concerned, this is dealt with in chapter 6 of the textbook. In the particular method which I espouse, BNIM (biographic-narrative and semi-structured method) is dealt with there, and also in a free-text on BNIM which I can send you (or anybody else) if you wish to send me your email address directly. The methgod involves a single narrative question, followed by further narrative-eliciting follow-up questions in a second sub-session, followed (optionally) by non-narrative questions in a third sub-session. My email address is <tom@tomwengraf.com>. The method has been used to explore the experiences of mental health professionals (and those with mental health issues) but not as far as within schools. The references are in the free BNIM Short Guide and Detailed Manual that I can send you (or anybody else). Best wishes for your work, whichever method (or mix of methods) you use. Tom.

    Vera Dolan

    Hi, Tom: I see that this thread happened more than 2 years ago, but I’m hoping I can still get a copy of the free text on BNIM that you referred to in your reply to Margaret’s post. May I reach you by email in order to do that? I’m also looking for your textbook right now on Amazon. Thanks a lot in advance.

    Tom Wengraf

    Dear Vera,

    Very pleased to hear from you.

    If you write to me at the tom@tomwengraf.com, I will be very happy to send you my current free text on BNIM.

    Do let me know any detail you can what you would like to would like to use it for.

    Best wishes. Tom.


    Hi Tom

    I’ve just joined this discussion group, as I start my doctoral thesis using biographic narrative; your book sounds like a great source to start with- next on my shopping list!

    I’d like to contact you with regard to the BNIM manual that you cite, if that would be ok?

    Kind regards


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