Step-by-Step Approach to Narrative Analysis

Here’s a¬†deceptively simple summary of an approach borrowed from Douglas Ezzy’s 2002 book, Qualitative Analysis:

1. Compile the stories
2. Analyze the content, the discourse, and the context of each story, focusing on insights and understandings
3. Compare and contrast stories for similarities and differences in content, style, and interpretation
4. Consider the effects of background variables (ie:gender, age)
5. Identify stories or content that illustrate your themes, insights, and understandings.

Increasingly, social science researchers are using themes and approaches from literary theory to develop rich, fine-grained analysis of discourse. Here, I think Derrida’s question, “What is this text responding to?” can be extremely helpful.

You’ll find more in-depth consideration of narrative methods (and more detailed discussion of various approaches) in my paper titled, “Refining the Narrative Turn: When does story-telling become research.”

Other resources are listed and reviewed on the page titled, “Books and Articles on Narrative Inquiry.”

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