How To Collect Data In Narrative Research
Narrative research is an important tool for gathering qualitative data in the social sciences. It is used by researchers to uncover the stories and experiences of individuals, providing a deeper understanding of the human experience. In this blog post, we will discuss how to collect data in narrative research.
Understand the Narrative Research Process
The first step in conducting narrative research is to understand the process. Narrative research is an iterative process that involves asking questions, collecting data, and synthesizing the information gathered.
At its core, narrative research is an exploration of an individual’s story. To uncover the story, researchers must ask questions, listen closely to the answers, and analyze the information gathered. The goal is to gain an understanding of the individual’s experience and how they perceive the world around them.
Choose an Appropriate Data Collection Method
Once you have a clear understanding of the narrative research process, the next step is to choose an appropriate data collection method. There are a variety of ways to collect data in narrative research, including interviews, focus groups, and surveys.
Interviews are a commonly used method for narrative research. An interview is a conversation between two people where one person asks questions and the other person provides answers. Interviews provide a personal, face-to-face interaction, which is important for developing a deeper understanding of the individual’s story.
Focus groups are another useful data collection method for narrative research. Focus groups are small groups of people who are asked to discuss a particular topic. The conversations are moderated, so the researcher can ask questions and direct the discussion.
Surveys are another way to collect data in narrative research. Surveys are questionnaires where people answer a set of questions. The surveys can be administered online, in person, or through mail.
Develop Interview Questions
Once you have chosen a data collection method, the next step is to develop interview questions. Interview questions should be tailored to the individual and should focus on uncovering the story of their experiences.
When developing interview questions, it is important to consider the type of data you are trying to collect. For example, if you are trying to understand the individual’s motivations, you might ask questions about their goals and ambitions. If you are trying to understand their beliefs, you might ask questions about their values and beliefs.
Analyze and Synthesize the Data
After collecting the data, the next step is to analyze and synthesize the information. Analysis involves looking for patterns and themes in the data. Synthesis involves combining the information to create a cohesive narrative.
Analysis and synthesis can be done in a variety of ways. One common method is to use coding to organize the data. Coding involves assigning labels to certain pieces of data, allowing the researcher to group information into categories and identify patterns.
Collecting data in narrative research can be a challenging process. However, with the right approach and understanding of the process, you can conduct effective narrative research. By understanding the narrative research process, choosing an appropriate data collection method, developing interview questions, and analyzing and synthesizing the data, you can uncover meaningful stories and insights from individuals.
For more information on narrative research, please check out the following resources:
Qualtrics: Qualitative Research Methods,
SAGE: Qualitative Research Methods,