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Narrative Analysis

Narrative Analysis

Volume: 30

September 1993 | 88 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
Recipient of the 1994 Critics' Choice Award from the American Educational Studies Association

People tell stories to help organize and make sense of their lives. In the past, their narratives have often been torn apart by social scientists looking for themes, variables, and specific answers to specific questions. But in recent years, the development of narrative analysis has given life to the study of the narrative as a form of information for social research. Why are they constructed as they are? How does one dissect a narrative to understand the lived experience of the narrator? What steps can the researcher take to translate these tales and life stories into usable research? Catherine Kohler Riessman provides a detailed primer on the use of narrative analysis, its theoretical underpinnings and worldview, and the methods it uses. Replete with examples and transcriptions from previous narrative studies, Narrative Analysis is a useful introduction to this growing body of literature.

Locating Narrative

Personal Narratives as Data
Studying Narratives
Organization of the Book
The Representation of Experience
Narratives as Representations
A Life Story
Linked Stories and Meaning in Conversation
Poetic Structures and Meaning
Uses and Limitations of Narrative Analysis

"This exposition of the principles of narrative analysis is a crisp and thankfully accessible introduction to a range of more or less formal techniques for the interpretation of first-person oral narratives...Riessman organizes her discussion in a down-to-earth way..."

Patricia Uberoi in Contributions to Indian Sociology

"Her concise and well-organized book, Narrative Analysis, contributes important insights to the qualitative methods literature. It is directed toward scholars and graduate students of various disciplines, as a methodological guide for analyzing transcripts of first-person stories or experiences. The book is also relevant for researchers interested in the substantive areas of women's lives and medical sociology...Riessman's book provides a useful guide for marketing researchers; particularly those aligned with the interpretive camp...because marketing researchers are increasingly interested in studying both consumers' and managers' stories...Narrative Analysis should be useful to an even wider audience."   

George M. Zinkhan & Denise E. Delorme in Journal of Marketing

"Catherine Kohler Riessman's handbook not only provides a basic introduction to the social scientist using narrative as a tool, but also offers a strand of feminist research as her central example...It is a useful text to include in course offerings on discourse analysis."  

Discourse and Society

"The book offers communication researchers some of the best recent work on qualitative inquiry in the human disciplines...Published by SAGE, the leading publisher of qualitative research in the social sciences today...The heart of her tightly argued text turns on forms of narrative (linked stories, conversations, life stories) and their analysis...This work should be read against and alongside Atkinson and Silverman...This work brings the communication scholar up-to-date on where qualitative methods are in current sociological and educational discourse."

Norman K. Denzin
Journal of Communication

"[This book] does what it intends to do and does that clearly and with lively and interesting examples. I think both students and teachers will find it compelling and useful. I plan to assign it in my seminar on narrative and description next semester."  

Jay Gubrium
University of Florida

"In this text, Catherine Kohler Riessman discusses many of the important questions that face narrative scholars. As such, the book is a good introductory text for narrative methodology. For those who have read within the field previously, this work reminds the reader of some of the important questions that need to be addressed in narrative work...This text is a valuable effort in an attempt to synthesize some of the main aspects of narrative methodology."  

Journal of Contemporary Ethnography

"An excellent resource for individuals interested in the systematic use of narrative in social science research."  

The American Journal of Family Therapy

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