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Narrative Methods for the Human Sciences

by Catherine Kohler Riessman SAGE Publications, Inc
Pub Date:
12/2007
ISBN:
9780761929987
Format:
Pbk 264 pages
Price:
AU$119.00 NZ$123.48
Product Status: Title is Print on Demand - May take 4 weeks
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Narrative Methods for the Human Sciences provides a lively overview of research based on constructing and interpreting narrative. Designed to improve research practice, it provides a detailed discussion of four analytic methods that students can adapt. Author Catherine Kohler Riessman explains how to conduct the four kinds of narrative analysis using model studies from sociology, anthropology, psychology, education and nursing. Throughout the book, she compares different approaches including thematic analysis, structural analysis, dialogic/performance analysis, and visual narrative analysis. The book helps students confront specific issues in their research practice, including how to construct a transcript in an interview study; complexities of working with materials translated from another language; defining narrative segments; relating text and context; locating oneself as the researcher in a responsible way in an inquiry; and arguing for the credibility of the case-based approach.

Broad in scope, Narrative Methods for the Human Sciences also offers concrete guidance in individual chapter for students and established scholars wanting to join the “narrative turn” in social research.

Key Features
Focuses on four particular methods of narrative analysis: This text provides specific diverse exemplars of good narrative research, as practiced in several social science and human service disciplines.

Offers guidance for narrative interviewing: The author discusses the complexities between spoken language and any written transcript. In the process, she encourages students to be mindful of the texts they construct from dialogues among speakers.

Presents arguments about validation in case-based research: Riessman presents several ways to think about credibility in narrative studies, contextualizing validity in relation to epistemology and theoretical orientation of a study.

Explores the differences between grounded theory methods and narrative analysis: The author clarifies distinctions between inductive thematic coding in grounded theory, and other interpretive approaches, and narrative analysis.

Presents social linguistic methods for analyzing oral narrative: This text makes the approach accessible to readers not trained in social linguistics in part by providing rich examples from a number of different disciplines in the social and behavioral sciences.

Employs visual methods of analysis: Riessman takes narrative research beyond the spoken or written texts by showing how exemplary researchers have connected participants’ words and images made during the research process. She also discusses other research that incorporates “found” images (in archives) in a narrative inquiry.

This text is designed as a supplement to the qualitative research course taught in graduate departments across the social and behavioral sciences, and as a core book in the narrative course.

“This is a terrific book. Cathy Riessman has an encyclopedic knowledge of this field and of the participants in it. This breadth and depth of knowledge is abundantly clear throughout the book.”
-Susan Bell, Bowdoin College

Looking Back, Looking Forward
Constructing Narratives for Research
Thematic Analysis
Structural Analysis
Dialogic Performance Analysis
Visual Analysis
Truths and Cautions

"Narrative Methods for the Human Sciences is a well-written, profoundly useful guide to four of the main narrative methods: (a) oral narratives derived from interviews; (b) narratives derived from archival materials such as diaries, letters, and other documents; (c) ethnographic observations as compiled from field notes; and (d) visual media (in combination with text or not) such as videotaped interactions, paintings, and photographs. Not only is she practical and thoughtful about types of narratives, but even more important are the insights that she provides about the alternative methods of transforming narrative materials into published works. [...T]his excellent work will be indispensible for teachers of graduate courses in narrative and other qualitative methods and for research teams wanting to do first-rate narrative research."
Catherine Kohler Riessman is Research Professor in the Department of Sociology at Boston College, and an Emerita Professor at Boston University. She serves as a Visiting Fellow in the Centre for Narrative Research, University of East London. She earned a Ph.D. in Sociomedical Science from Columbia University. Riessman has authored four books and numerous articles and book chapters in medical sociology and qualitative methodologies.