The turn to a narrative knowing of persons: one method explored

This source preferred by Kip Jones

Authors: Jones, K.

Journal: Journal of Research in Nursing

Volume: 8

Pages: 60-71

ISSN: 1744-9871

DOI: 10.1177/136140960300800109

This paper discusses the increasing use of narrative studies and biographical research in the social sciences as a way of knowing persons. Dangers inherent in the making of false assumptions of knowledge from interviewing and semi-structured probes are noted. Personal experience with the biographic narrative interpretive method is discussed, using examples from my research on identity and the informal care role to explain the method.

The method uses a minimalist-passive interviewing technique and reflecting teams for analysis of data. Microanalysis of the 'lived life' and thematic field analysis of the 'told story' are described. The use of small sample frames to generate meaningful case studies is defended. The interview technique is expanded upon, paying attention to the concept of gestalt. The post-interview reflective process is described, followed by a case being made for analytic induction as both the foundation of grounded theory and an alternative to it. The use of reflective teams is expanded upon vis-a-vis my research. Unique approaches to the data analysis, which developed my use of the method, are argued as adding flexibility to the biographic narrative interpretive method. The paper concludes with a discussion of concepts of truth and veracity in storytelling and the reconstructive process I employed in piecing together images of a whole through the imaginative subjective dramas of everyday lives.

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