Thursday, 3 May 2012

Steps to Narrative Inquiry?

In the past few years or so I've been trying to learn a variety of new methods, from participatory
action to interpersonal process recall and narrative inquiry.

Narrative inquiry has been particularly useful as it allows you to capture a person's story in full without chopping it up a la Grounded Theory...you are still able to look at typologies of stories but the meaning and plot remains intact...they are naturally more emotive than 'themes' which can become too mechanical and the researcher can serve to "bear witness" rather than simply gather data.

I have found one of the great frustrations when you are learning something new though is that writers in qual research seem hesitant to operationalise their methods, therefore making them amenable to learners. Maybe when your more experienced you want to be creative and not pin things down but this makes it pretty hard to get a grip on the method initially. 

One way I have tried to overcome this is simply to write notes on my own "Dummys Guide" to each 
new method I try and learn...here is what I came up with for Narrative Inquiry..pretty sure however its close to Clandinin and Connelly's description

Front Cover

1.Develop an interview schedule: eg, a set of questions or guidelines (Journals and diaries can be
used to augmented by graphical representations)
2.Transcribe interview with line numbers and interviewer/side issues removed
3.Read it through with research question in mind making notes on another column with ref to line numbers
4.Create stories: use first person, past tense, chronological order, plot, scenes, character,
5.Member check with participants
6. Create a new document for each story with line numbers
7. Analyse each sentence/paragraph by asking “what is this sentence/paragraph  
about”/write in a running column
8. Repeat until the meaning of the story runs along side
9. Repeat for all stories
10.Change these notes to categories or codes
11. Cross code with supervisor or other researcher
12.Develop the combination of categories inherent in each individual story into a typology
13.Develop across subject analysis of the relationship between codes and typologies with 

At the moment we have completed one study using this process: 

Huynh, L. & Rhodes, P. (2011). Why do People Choose to Become Psychologists? A Narrative Inquiry of Aspiring Therapists. Psychology Teaching Review, 17 (2), 64-71.

Research suggests that mental health professionals have more problematic family backgrounds than those in other professions, but little is known about the role that early experience has on career choice. This is of particular importance for the education of psychologists, given the current emphasis on skills and research training and the call for a greater focus on personal development. This study aimed to explore connections between distressing events and career choice, using a qualitative narrative inquiry research design. Fifteen students participated, each undertaking junior psychology courses. For many distressing experiences in childhood, adolescence or early adulthood were directly related to career choice, supporting the development of empathy for others and inspiring them through both good and bad encounters with helping professionals. While a majority of participants followed this route to psychology training others were inspired by positive experiences, particularly in the satisfaction and the recognition of personal suitability gained from a variety of helping roles. More research is required, to assess the personal development needs of students, to map their occupational prognoses and to trial personal development initiatives in university settings.

Three others are in play....

Archiving Insider Knowledge in Hearing Voices Network de Jager, Rhodes &  Blaszczynski

The Role of Exercise in Recovery From Anorexia nervosa: A Narrative Inquiry Young, Hay & Rhodes

Recovery From Chronic Anorexia Nervosa ? A Narrative Inquiry Dawson and Rhodes

If you want to know more about this method you cant do better than the book above...Ive found this site great too

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