Leap into Narratives
Narratives, or storytelling, allow research participants to tell their story in an unstructured way that releases them from our structured questionning that sometimes suppresses key findings. Such “unstructure” can lead to powerful, unexpected insights. During narratives the participant expresses him/herself in ways that are unconventional and revealing of context, behaviour, relationships and emotions. The researcher must employ a research design that gives the participant such freedom of expression yet creates a structure for collecting the narratives for later analysis. Only after the narratives are collected is the process subjected to the rigor of analysis necessary to mine the deeper insights often divulged through storytelling narratives.
Research World published an interesting article on narratives in its November, 2008 edition. That article can be found at http://viewer.zmags.com/showmag.php?mid=wwhgph&pageid=1#/page4/.