Life Story Narrative Research Paper

The paper draws on the author's interview experiences and interrogates the conditions in which research interviews generate narratives and storytelling; interviews that do not invite storytelling and interviews where people were asked to give a life story. First, the paper considers the question as to what provokes storytelling. It suggests that people engage with the narrative mode to some extent under the conditions of their own choosing. Second, it examines the processes by which mean making is achieved in storytelling and made sense of by the research analyst. Contrasting two cases of Irish migrants, drawn from a study of fatherhood across three generations in Polish, Irish and white British families, the paper then considers issues of analysis. The argument is made that sociological qualitative research has to engage with narrative analysis and that this involves a close examination not only of what is told and not told but also the forms in which stories are told (the structuring of stories and their linguistic nuances), and the methods by which the interviewee draws in and persuades the listener. Lastly and most importantly, the paper concludes that attention should be made to talk and context in equal measure. It considers the importance of contextualisation of interview data contemporaneously and historically and the methodological strategies through which the researchers create second order narratives in the analysis of their research.


The power of story: Narrative inquiry as a methodology in nursing research rights and content

Open Access funded by Chinese Nursing Association

Under a Creative Commons license

Copyright © 2015 Chinese Nursing Association. Production and hosting by Elsevier (Singapore) Pte Ltd.


The aim of this paper is to explore the essential elements and value of narrative inquiry in nursing research. We propose that understanding a previous experience allows the nurse researcher an “insider view” and hence a deeper understanding of the issues that arise in the relationship between participant and researcher. We suggest that narrative inquiry in nursing research offers a particular way of caring about how knowledge is produced. Nursing science would benefit from the understanding that health and nursing practices are dynamic processes characterized by the continuous interaction of human thought and behaviour that continuously ‘pumps’ into personal, social and material environments. Narrative inquiry as a methodology in nursing research is exceptionally useful to uncover nuance and detail of previous experiences.


Narrative inquiry


Nursing research

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