Storytelling and Narratives

Narrative inquiry is a valuable investigative technique in qualitative research. Narrative inquiry and storytelling offer us a different way of knowing, of investigating the lived experiences of individuals, and of exploring subjectivity. Narrative knowledge is created and constructed through the stories of lived experience and sense-making, the meanings people afford to them, and therefore offers valuable insight into the complexity of human lives, cultures, and behaviours.

It allows us to capture the rich data within stories, including for example shedding insight into feelings, beliefs, images and time. It also takes account of the relationship between individual experience and the wider social and cultural contexts. Crucially, it also involves collaborative inquiry and co-construction of meaning between participants and the researcher. Examples of narrative inquiry in qualitative research include for instance: stories, interviews, life histories, journals, photographs and other artifacts.

This course explores at a foundational level the benefits that narratives and stories offer as a method of inquiry in social research. As well as providing a grounding in the principles and theories, participants will gain hands-on experience of using techniques of narrative inquiry.