Narrative Data Analysis

Bold, C. (2011). Using Narrative in Research. London, GBR: SAGE Publications Ltd. Retrieved from

  1. Cladinin & Connelly (2000) say “narrative inquiry involves studying phenomena, engaging in searching, re-searching, and searching again in a process of continual reformulation of one’s ideas about the chosen phenomena”.
    1. “the narrative inquirer begins with experience rather than theory and explores the phenomena rather than a comparative analysis of theoretical frameworks”
    2. focusing on a phenomena (international BL) sounds like a good idea to me. We are doing “explore” research which doesn’t have very specific questions, or cause and effect answers, but rather is just looking to gain some information about what is happening. 
    3. Can lead you to lack criticality (failing to make comparisons with other research) – In order to avoid this I’ll need to explore the phenomena AND critically examine the emerging ideas using relevant literature. I think that having co-researchers/authors who are newer in BL and in this project will help there as well.
  2. Interviews – Semi-structured interviews can lead to narrative-like responses. I think that mine tended to, especially as I became a more practiced interviewer.
  3. Bochner (2001)
    1. “the analysis of personal narratives…is about acknowledging the multiple forms or representation; moving towards meaning rather than searching for facts; emphasizing local stories; and moving away from categorizing and abstracting.” – This sounds like it is opposed to coding…but I think maybe I can be looking for meaning in the experiences of my participants instead of facts about how this phenomena is, since it is clearly different in every case.
    2. advises “judging life experiences against the ethical, emotional, practical and fateful demands of life as each of us knows them.” – This sounds like an acknowledgement of what I see as the truth of subjective open coding. As object as I might try to be everything I do is through the lenses of my experience.
    3. the researcher should engage in dialogue withe the storyteller to develop “understanding of the story” by “match[ing] it with one’s own lived experience” to to be empathetic. – I did this naturally, especially in the beginning. I think people need to be validated, but now I am trying to do that without taking up too much time and hopefully not influencing them too much more than I already have.
    4. “working with such narratives not a search for truth, but an acknowledgement of personal experiences as recounted at that moment in time” – This is how I look at my interview data. Of course it isn’t pure fact and Truth with a big T, but I think I need to trust my participants enough to believe and treat them like they are being honest in their personal experiences as they understand them at that moment and are comfortable revealing them to me. 
    5. The researcher, writer and reader all interpret experiences according to their frames of reference which lead to multiple interpretations and “representing the reality of social existence” – I like this because i acknowledges that this is how social existence is, but doesn’t shy away from studying it just because it is fluid.
  4. Thematic analysis
    1. Main ideas
      1. the researchers is seeking and identifying themes (or their lack)
      2. experiences usually involve relationships between people and contexts.
    2. Simkhada’s (2008) Framework
      1. theme heading
        1. subheading
        2. subheading
          1. excerpt examples
      2. tabulate how many fall into each theme
    3. Crang & Cook – grounded theory/open coding
      1. not beginning with ideas about categories or themes, but examine the data and categorizing material that emerges. Good for trying not to interview with specific themes in mind.
    4. I think our project will be a mix of both. The questions asked in the interviews will be the headings, but the subheadings will be open coded.
  5.  Further Reading
    1. Bochner, A. P. (2001). Narrative’s virtues. Qualitative inquiry, 7(2), 131-157.
    2. Clandinin, D and Connelly, M. (2000) Narrative Inquiry: Experience and Story in Qualitative Research. San francisco: Jossey-Bass
    3. Crang, M. and Cook, I. (2007) Doing Ethnographies. London: Sage.
    4. Simkhada, P. (2008) “Sex trafficking: life histories and survival strategies among trafficked girls in Nepal”, Children and Society, 22: 235-48.
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