Last updated: July 3, 2003

Narrative Psychology Search


[Narrative Psychology] 

  Methodology: Qualitative Inquiry and Interviewing

Wait a minute. Perhaps she's right. Perhaps I've been wrong to blindly follow the medical traditions and superstitions of past centuries. Maybe we barbers should test these assumptions analytically, through experimentation and a "scientific method". Maybe this scientific method could be extended to other fields of learning: the natural sciences, art, architecture, navigation. Perhaps I could lead the way to a new age, an age of rebirth, a Renaissance! [thinks for a minute] Naaaaaahhh!

- "Theodoric of York: Medieval Barber" Skit, Saturday Night Live (4/22/78) 

Background  ||  Internet  ||  Bibliographical  ||  Theorists

Background Issues

The methods used to research narrative issues in psychology and its coordinate fields of study remain distinctive vis-a-vis the "mainstream" of the discipline. Indeed, an examination of the large volume on research methods in the very recent and comprehensive Handbook of Psychology (Vol. 1) from John Wiley (Schinka & Velicer, 2003) finds no mention of qualitative techniques nor narrative within the index. Quantitative approaches still rule the day within conventional psychology.

Theorists*Key Figures


Internet Resouces

General Qualitative & Narrative Methodologies

--University of Georgia (originally established by Judy
Norris, Faculty of Nursing, U Alberta)

QUALIDATA: ESRC Qualitative Data Archival Resource Centre [U Essex, UK] This site includes extensive descriptive guides to qualitative data sets archived worldwide.

ISWorld Qualitative Research in Information Systems
Michael D. Myers, Aukland, NZ
Part of ISWorld Net!

QSE: International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education [issued quarterly]

"International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education aims to enhance the theory of qualitative research in education. It publishes peer-reviewed papers that employ a variety of qualitative methods and approaches, including, but not limited to, ethnographic enquiry, history, grounded theory, life history, case studies, qualitative evaluation, curriculum criticism and phenomenology. All papers address significant education issues and will report naturalistic data that have been systematically analysed. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education publishes research that defines education in the broadest sense. Papers that focus on learning in non-school settings are welcome. Essays on ethics, methods, teaching research methods, and biographies of prominent qualitative researchers appear regularly. Book review essays and short reviews are published in every issue." Edited by James Scheurich and Douglas Foley, University of Texas at Austin, Texas, USA

PARnet: The Cornell Participatory Action Research Network
[Carla Shafer] "PARnet serves an international group of students, faculty, and other practitioners who share a commitment to promoting high standards of intellectual and social integrity in doing social research for social change."

Multiple resources related to action research approaches, includes a search engine for ARlist-L and Bob Dick's Action Research Archive, a directory of academic courses worldwide, a registry of research colleagues, and an archive of on-line papers devoted to action research. Very handsome site graphically.

Qualitative Inquiry [issued quarterly]

From Sage Publications (Thousand Oaks, CA). Volume 1 was issued in 1995. This journal "publishes refereed research articles that experiment with manuscript form and content, and focus on methodological issues raised by qualitative research rather than the content or results of the research." Edited by Norman Denzin, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and Yvonna S. Lincoln, Texas A&M University

Qualitative Research [issued every four months]

From Sage Publications. "Qualitative Research provides a much needed forum for the discussion of research methods, in particular qualitative research, across the social sciences and cultural studies. The journal features papers with a methodological focus, discussed in relation to specific empirical studies and research problems and papers raising philosophical, theoretical, historical or ideological debates about qualitative research." (from blurb at site). Edited by Paul Atkinson & Sara Delamont (U Wales Cardiff, UK)

Qualitative Health Research [issued ten times a year]

From Sage Publications. "Qualitative Health Research provides an international, interdisciplinary forum to enhance health care and further the development and understanding of qualitative research in health-care settings." Edited by Janice M. Morse, U Alberta, Edmonton, Canada.

QUIG -- Qualitative Interest Group
University of Georgia, School of Education

Qualitative Research Resources on the Internet
Ron Chenail/School of Social and Systematic Studies
Nova Southeastern University, Florida

Qualitative Research Resources on the Internet is a project dedicated to providing researchers, clinicians, teachers, and students with on-line access to a collection of qualitative research sites and materials available through the World Wide Web. Papers, dissertations, and syllabi are just some of the useful materials that can be found in the Resources section.

The Qualitative Report (ISSN 1052-0147) is an on-line journal devoted to writing and discussion of and about qualitative and critical inquiry. The Qualitative Report serves as a forum and sounding board for researchers, scholars, practitioners, and other reflective-minded individuals who are passionate about ideas, methods, and analyses permeating qualitative and critical study. These pages are open to a variety of forms: original, scholarly activity such as qualitative research studies, critical commentaries, editorials, or debates concerning pertinent issues and topics; news of networking and research possibilities; and other sorts of journalistic shapes which may interest and pique readers.

QSR (Qualitative Solutions and Research) Software [Australia]

Sage Publications [Thousand Oaks, CA and London, UK]

Major publisher of texts involving qualitative and other narratively-related research and research methods.

<NARRATIVE-HEALTH-RESEARCH> electronic discussion list

Society for the Study of Symbolic Interaction Homepage (SSSI) [Jim Thomas, Northern Illinois U.] Very graphics intensive

The SSSI is a social science professional organization of scholars interested in qualitative, especially interactionist, research. The society organizes panels and sessions at annual conferences such as the American Sociological Association and Midwest Sociology Society Annual Meetings, and each spring holds the Stone Symposium


Bibliographical Resources

[Icon] General Methodology

Berg, B. L. (1989). Qualitative research methods for the social sciences. Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon. [H61 .B4715 1989]

Bogdan, R. C., & Biklen, S. K. (1997). Qualitative research for education: An introduction to theory and methods (3rd ed.). Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon. [LB1028 .B56 1997]

Chamberlayne, P., Wengraf, T., & Bornat, J. (2000). The turn to biographical methods in social science: Comparative issues and examples. New York: Routledge.

"This book combines an exploration of the historical and philosophical origins of this important field of qualitative research with comparative examples of the different ways that biographical methods have been successfully applied internationally." (from publisher's blurb)

Coffey, A., & Atkinson, P. (1996). Making sense of qualitative data analysis: Complementary strategies. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Cortazzi, M. (1993). Narrative analysis. Washington, DC: Falmer. [P302.7.C67 1993]

Creswell, J. W. (1998). Qualitative inquiry and research design: Choosing among five traditions. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

This important survey examines five approaches to qualitative research: biography, phenomenology, grounded theory, ethnography, and case study. It provides extensive comparative data regarding historical and theoretical backgrounds, criteria for use, and designing and reporting the research. A very user friendly text with graphically-attractive and helpful tables, annotated glossary of terms, and an exemplar research report illustrating each of the five approaches.

Danziger, K. (1990). Constructing the subject: Historical origins of psychological research. New York: Cambridge University Press.

"This incisive study views psychology not so much as a body of facts or theories, but as a special set of social activities intended to produce something that counts as psychological knowledge under certain historical conditions. The book traces the history of psychological research methodology from the nineteenth century to the emergence of currently favored styles of research. Professor Danziger considers methodology as a kind of social practice rather than being simply a matter of technique. Therefore his historical analysis is primarily concerned with such topics as the development of the social structure of the research relationship between experimenters and their subjects, as well as the role of methodology in the relationship of investigators to each other and to a wider social context. Another major theme addresses the relationship between the social practice of research and the nature of the product that is the outcome of this practice." (from publisher's blurb). Two chapters may be of particular importance to narrative (and qualitative) investigators: "From Quantification to Methodolatry" and "Investigating Persons and the Social Construction of Psychological Knowledge". This text appears in the series: Cambridge Studies in the History of Psychology.

Danziger, K. (2000). Making social psychology experimental: A conceptual history, 1920-1970. Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences, 36, 329-347.

Danziger examines the emergence of the standard model of experiemental social psychology (" to the investigation of effects that were proximal, local, short-term, and decomposable."-from the abstract) and notes a variety of alternative routes which were proposed but generarlly rejected.

Denzin, N.K. (1997). Interpretive ethnography: Ethnographic practices for the 21st century. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

For the advanced graduate student and professional.

+Denzin, N. K., & Lincoln, Y. S. (Eds.). (1994). Handbook of qualitative research. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. [H62.H2455 1994]

This substantial volume brings together major social scientists to explain the complexities of qualitative research methods in 36 separate essays across six general subheadings: Locating the Field; Major Paradigms and Perspectives; Strategies of Inquiry; Methods of Collecting and Analyzing Empirical Materials; The Art of Interpretation, Evaluation, and Presentiation; and, The Future of Qualitative Research. Quite extensive references, name, and subject indices. Now available as three separate paperback volumes from Sage:

+Denzin, N. K., & Lincoln, Y. S. (Eds.) (2000). Handbook of qualitative research (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications [ H62 .H2455 2000 ] (publisher's description)

Arguably the premier compendium in the field of qualitative research methods, this second edition of Denzin & Lincoln's influential handbook retains the same six general subheadings as the 1994 volume but is a substantially rewritten text with 33 new chapter authors or coauthors. Six new chapter topics are introduced (queer theory, performance ethnography, testimonio, focus groups in feminist research, applied ethnography, and anthropological poetics) while many of the returning chapters have been significantly revised. After a decade of expansion and further penetration into the various social science disciplines, qualitative research methodologies are reaching a maturity which this edition reflects.

Girden, E. R. (1996). Evaluating research articles from start to finish. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

In this text for advanced research methods courses, Ellen Girden explains the strengths and weaknesses of published research studies by genre, including Case Studies and Narrative Analysis as well as a range of quantitative approaches.

+Jacob, E. (1987). Qualitative research traditions: A review. Review of Educational Research, 57, 1-50.

Jenkins, J. H., & Csordas, T. J. (Eds.). (1997). Ethnography and sociocultural processes: A symposium [Special issue]. Ethos: Journal of the Society for Psychological Anthropology, 25 (2).

This special issue which focuses upon contemporary ethnographic practice in relation to social and cultural processes and representing scholars from anthropology, sociology, and psychology includes ten articles:

King, G., Keohane, R. O., & Verba, S. (1994). Designing social inquiry: Scientific inference in qualitative research. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. [H61.K5437 1994]

Kirk, J., & Miller, M. L. (1986). Reliability and validity in qualitative research. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage Publications. [GN346.4 .K57 1986]

Objectivity in ethnological methodologies & participant observation.

Lincoln, Y. S., & Guba, E. G. (1985). Naturalistic inquiry. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage Publications.

Marshall, C., & Rossman, G. B. (1989). Designing qualitative research. Newbury Park, CA: Sage. [H62.M277 1989]

Maxwell, J. A. (1996). Qualitative Research Design. Series in Applied Social Research Methods, Vol. 41. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Mertens, D. M. (1998). Resesarch methods in education and psychology: Integrating diversity with quantitative & qualitative approaches. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. [LB1028 .M3966 1998]

Treats a wide array of approaches to research including history and narrative study of lives.

+Miles, M. B., & Huberman, A. M. (1994), Qualitative data analysis: An expanded sourcebook (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. [H62.M437 1994]

Sixty methods of data display and analysis. Extensive coverage of computer usage in qualitative analysis.

Morse, J. M. & Field, P. A. (1995). Qualitative research methods for health professionals. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Neuman, W. L. (1994). Social research methods: Qualitative and quantitative approaches (2nd ed.). Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon. [HM48.N48 1994]

Patton, M. Q. (1990). Qualitative evaluation and research methods. Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications.

Poland, B. (1995). Transcription quality as an aspect of rigor in qualitative research. Qualitative Inquiry, 1, 290-310.

Ratner, C. (1997). Cultural psychology and qualitative methodology: Theoretical and empirical considerations. New York: Plenum

Reichardt, C. S., & Rallis, S. F. (Eds.). (1994). The qualitative-quantitative debate: New Perspectives. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. [H62 .Q36x 1994]

Riessman, C. K. (1993). Narrative analysis. Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications. [P302.7.R54]

Riessman provides a detailed primer on the use of narrative analysis, its theoretical underpinnings and world view, and the methods it uses. Replete with examples and transcriptions from previous narrative studies, her book is a useful introduction to this growing body of literature. [Publisher's blurb] The second textbook for PSY444 Narrative Psychology.

Riessman, C. K. (1993). Qualitative studies in social work research. Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications.

Schinka, J. A., & Velicer, W. F. (2003). Research methods in psychology. Vol. 2. Handbook of psychology (Irving B. Weiner, Editor-in-Chief). New York: John Wiley & Sons.

Included here merely to reference its citation above. This volume makes no effort to address issues related to narrative and would be of no direct help to researchers interested in this topic.

Spradley, J. P. (1979). The ethnographic interview. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.

Strauss, A., & Corbin, J. (1990). Basics of qualitative research: Grounded theory procedures and techniques. Newbury Park, CA: Sage. [HA29.S823 1990]

Taylor, S. J., & Bogdan, R. (1998). Introduction to qualitative research methods : A guidebook and resource (3rd ed.). New York: John Wiley & Sons.

Weitzman, E. A., & Miles, M. B. (1995). Computer programs for qualitative data analysis: A software sourcebook. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. [H61.3.W45 1995]

Companion to Miles & Huberman (1994), this book reviews 24 programs in five major categories (text retrievers, textbase managers, code-and-retrieve programs, code-based theory-builders, and conceptual network builders). Rates each program (from book blurb).


[Icon] Case Study

Craik, K. H. (1997). Cicumnavigating the personality as a whole: The challenges of integrative methodological pluralism. Journal of Personality, 65, 1087-1111.

Critique of Nasby & Read (1997).

Franklin, R. D., Allison, D. B., & Gorman, B. S. (Eds.). (1997). Design and analysis of single-case research. Mahwah, NJ: L. Erlbaum Associates.

History and methods by which to study single individuals and measure their behaviors over time.

Hamel, J. (with S. Dufour & D. Fortin). (1993). Case study methods [Enquete de terrain en sciences sociales. English]. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.

McAdams, D. P., & West, S. G. (1997). Introduction: Personality psychology and the case study. Journal of Personality, 65, 757-783.

This essay serves as the introduction to a special issue of the Journal of Personality (1997; vol. 65; issue #4) which is devoted almost entirely to the case study by Nasby and Read (1997) of Dodge Morgan and his solo voyage around the world in 1986. McAdams and West offer what may well be the essential review and starting point for psychologists interested in the case study as a research method. These authors link case study methodologies with varying scientific agenda and differentiate "the many conceptual and methodological problems and possibilities that arise in the psychological study of the single case" (abstract).

Nasby, W., & Read, N. W. (1997). The life voyage of a solo circumnavigator: Integrating theoretical and methodogical perspectives. Journal of Personality, 65, 785-1068.

This book-length monograph comprises almost an entire special issue (#4) of the Journal of Personality. Its focus is a case study of Dodge Morgan who completed a world-circling voyage in 1986 when he was 54 years old. Throughout the journey, Mr. Morgan completed a range of objective psychological assessment instruments, maintained various autobiographical journals and logs, and willingly offered both pre- and post-voyage access to these researchers for their questioning and interviews. This landmark study illustrates data collection procedures and analyses with a single subject which rival in their sophistication and demands psychological research with much larger participant numbers. Jerry S. Wiggins (1997) and Kenneth H. Craik (1997) review and critique this monograph in separate articles.

Platt, J. (1992). "Case study" in American methodological thought. Current Sociology, 40, 17-48.

Rothney, J. M. (1968). Methods of studying the individual child: The psychological case study. Waltham, MA: Blaisdell.

Stake, R. E. (1994). Case studies. In N. K. Denzin & Y. S. Lincoln (Eds.), Handbook of qualitative research (pp. 236-247). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Stake, R. E. (1995). The art of case study research. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

The author examines both a specific case as well as extends his analysis to the broad processes and considerations required to carry out a successful case study. Discusses the nature of qualitative research, how to gather data, analyze and interpret the resulting data, the processes of triangulation, and other issues.

Wiggins, J. S. (1997). Circumnavigating Dodge Morgan's interpersonal style. Journal of Personality, 65, 1067-1086.

Critique of Nasby and Read (1997) via the Interpersonal Circumplex Model of personality.

Yin, R. K. (1993). Applications of case study research. Newbury Park, CA: Sage. [H61.Y56 1993]

Yin, R. K. (1994). Case study research: Design and methods (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. [H62.Y56 1994]

Provides a comprehensive overview of the types of questions case studies seek to answer, designing studies, preparing for data collection, collecting the case evidence, analyzing that evidence, and composing a "report" on the case(s). Argues strongly for the importance of pilot case study work. Coordinated with Yin (1993). Notes the ways in which case studies are not forms of qualitative research (of an ethnographic type).


Processes of Interviewing and Oral History

   [Icon]  Interviewing

Chase, S. E. (1995). Taking narrative seriously: Consequences for method and theory in interview studies. In R. Josselson & A. Lieblich (Eds.), The Narrative Study of Lives (Vol. 3, pp. 1-26). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Feminist-inspired critique of interview practices and suggestions for methodological changes in approach and attitude.

Crabtree, B. F., & Miller, W. L. (1991). A qualitative approach to primary care research: The long interview. Family Medicine, 23, 145-51.

This literature review offers a guided explanation to the conduct of "the long interview" which promises important research advances in the field of primary medical care.

Edwards, R. (1993). An education in interviewing: Placing the researcher and the research. In R. Lee, and C. Renzetti, Researching sensitive topics (pp. 181-196). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Finch, J. (1984). "It's great to have someone to talk to": The ethics and politics of interviewing women, In C. Bell, and H. Roberts (Eds.), Social researching: Politics, problems, practice (pp. 70-87). London: RKP.

Holstein, J. A., & Gubrium, J. F. (1995). The active interview. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. [H61.28.H65 1995]

The authors explore the process of face-to-face interviewing from a constructionist framework and note the ways in which the narrative or story production of the "interviewee" takes place within a social context with the "interviewer" equally a participant of the process. How can they work together? Holstein and Gubrium describe how. No. 37 of the Qualitative Research Methods Series from Sage.

McCracken, G. D. (1988). The long interview. Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications. [H61.M4815]

+Mishler, E. G. (1986). The analysis of interview-narratives. In T. R. Sarbin (Ed.), Narrative psychology: The storied nature of human conduct (pp. 233-255). New York: Praeger.

+Mishler, E. G. (1991). Research interviewing: Context and narrative (pbk. ed.). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. (Original work pubished 1986) [HN29.M48 1986]

How discourse and narrative analytic principles must be brought to bear upon social survey interview methodologies. Holds that "(1) interviews are speech events, (2) discourse of interviews is constructed jointly by interviewers and respondents, (3) analysis and interpretation are based on a theory of discourse and meaning, and (4) the meanings of questions and answers are contextually grounded" (p. ix).

Rubin, H. J., & Rubin, I. S. (1995). Qualitative interviewing: The art of hearing data. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Seidmann, I. E. (1991). Interviewing as qualitative research: A guide for researchers in education and the social sciences. New York: Teachers College Press. [H61.28.S45 1991]

Wengraf, T. (2001). Qualitative research interviewing: Biographic narrative and semi-structured methods. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Wengraf (Senior Lecturer in Sociology and Social Research Methods, Middlesex U.) provides a comprehensive theoretical and practical guide to the planning, conduct, and interpretative analysis of data by semi-structured interviewing methods. Forthright and frank in his comments about the limitations and practical implications of varying choices which investigators have to make in designing their research projects. Reading this text is like having a tough but expert and caring mentor who wants you to do the best research possible, but will not hesitate to tell you when your ideology and assumptions skew that possibility.

   [Icon] Oral History

"Oral history is a method of gathering and preserving historical information through recorded interviews with participants in past events and ways of life. It is both the oldest type of historical inquiry, predating the written word, and one of the most modern, initiated with tape recorders in the 1940s." from General Introduction at the Oral History Association.

[Icon] See, also, History and Historiography
[Icon] See, also, Documentary Studies, Journalism, & Non-Fiction

Oral History Association [Dickinson College]

Oral History Society [UK] Comprehensive website

H-Oralhist [Jeff Charnley, Michigan State U] is "a member of the H-Net, Humanities & Social Sciences On-Line initiative. H-Oralhist is a network for scholars and professionals active in studies related to oral history. It is affiliated with the Oral History Association." (site blurb) A wonderfully extensive annotated set of links and resources. Includes accress to the message logs of H-Oralhist.

New England Association of Oral History Homepage

Doing Oral History [Department of History; Tennessee Technological University]

Columbia University Oral History Research Office

Guidelines for the Preparation of Oral Histories [SourceLINK Project-Historical Center for the Health Sciences-U Michigan]

Dunaway, D. K., & Baum, W. K. (Eds.). (1996). Oral history: An interdisciplinary anthology (2nd ed.). Walnut Creek, CA: Altamira Press (A Division of Sage Publications).

An update of their 1984 collection. 31 articles and an extensive introductory essay by Dunaway onthe "Interdisciplinarity of Oral History." Extensive notes and bibligraphy accompany the articles.

Frisch, M. (1990). A shared authority: Essays on the craft and meaning of oral and public history. Albany, NY: SUNY Press.

Lummis, T. (1987). Listening to history: The authenticity of oral evidence. London, UK: Hutchinson.

Perks, R., & Thompson, A. (1997). The oral history reader. New York: Routledge.

Thompson, P. (2000). The voice of the past: Oral history (3rd ed.). New York: Oxford University Press.

Tonkin, E. (1992). Narrating our pasts: The social construction of oral history. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


[Icon] Interpretation & Discourse Analysis in Qualitative Research

Agar, M. and J.R. Hobbs. (1982). Interpreting discourse: Coherence and the analysis of ethnographic interviews. Discourse Processes, 5, 1-32.

Feldman, M. S. (1995). Strategies for interpreting qualitative data. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. [HM131 .F388 1995]

+Haravon, A., Obler, L. K., & Sarno, M. T. (1994). A method for microanalysis of discourse in brain-damaged patients. In R. L. Bloom, L. K. Obler, S. DeSanti, & J. S. Ehrlich (Eds.), Discourse analysis and applications: Studies in adult clinical populations (pp. 47-80). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Expanding upon Saffran et al.'s 1989 method of microanalysis of discourse in aphasic patients, these authors propose a system to examine the discourse of adults who are not frankly aphasic but show somehat parallel difficulties, e.g., the speech of demented adults (Alzheimer's). The Cookie Theft Picture from the Boston Diagnostic Aphasia Exam is the stimulus for speech production. The authors evaluate morphology, lexicon and phrase-level structures in the produced speech.

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Hevern, V. W. (2003, July). Methodology: Qualitative inquiry and interviewing. Narrative psychology: Internet and resource guide. Retrieved [enter date] from the Le Moyne College Web site:

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