Using Narrative in Social Research: Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches

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SAGE, Jul 12, 2005 - Social Science - 220 pages
"An elegantly written, scholarly and accessible text. Jane Elliott shows a sophisticated appreciation of contemporary methodological developments, and makes a persuasive case for the use of narrative approaches in both qualitative and quantitative research. The book challenges and advances debates about combining methods, and shows how stories can work within and across conventional research boundaries. It is a truly original contribution to the literature."
-- Amanda Coffey Cardiff School of Social Sciences

This is a lucid and accessible introduction to narrative methods in social research. It is also an important book about the nature, role and theoretical basis of research methodology in general. Jane Elliott instructs the reader on the basic methods and methodological assumptions that form the basis of narrative methods. She does so in a way that is practical and accessible and in a way that will make the book a favourite with students and experienced researchers alike. Elliott argues that both qualitative and quantitative methods are characterized by a concern with narrative, and that our research data can best be analyzed if it is seen in narrative terms. In concrete, step-by-step terms she details for the reader how to go about collecting data and how to subject that data to narrative analysis, while at the same time placing this process in its wider theoretical context. She works across the traditional quantitative/qualitative divide to set out the ways in which narrative researchers can uncover such issues as social change, causality and social identity. She also shows how the techniques and skills used by qualitative researchers can be deployed when doing quantitative research and, similarly, how qualitative researchers can sometimes profit from using quantitative skills and techniques.
 

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Contents

Narrative and new developments in
1
Temporality and causality within narrative
7
Organization of the book
13
the use
17
Narratives in qualitative interviews
21
Internal validity
23
Collecting life histories the use of a life history grid
31
narrative
36
Optimism about causality based
109
Reading for discussion
115
constructions of
116
Neglect of the individual as an active agent and of
122
Summary
131
The ethical and political implications of using
134
The ethics of postal questionnaire studies
138
Narrative and the politics of research
144

A framework for classifying methods of narrative analysis
37
Genre
46
Clean transcripts
52
Readings for discussion
58
Collecting quantitative narratives
60
Problems with retrospective life history data
66
Cohort studies narrative and the life course approach
72
Statistical stories? The use of narrative
76
Different approaches to event history analysis
79
Individual heterogeneity
86
Summary
94
Uncovering and understanding causal effects
97
using quantitative analysis
103
Summary
150
reflexivity
152
Reflexivity and data collection
156
Reflexivity and writing
162
Summary
169
Telling better stories? Combining qualitative
171
Oualitative and quantitative research as different genres
184
Details of some major longitudinal
189
Glossary
199
References
205
Index
217
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About the author (2005)

Dr Jane Elliott is currently employed as Research Director of the 1958 National Child Development Study (NCDS) and the 1970 British Cohort Study (BCS70) at the Centre for Longitudinal Studies (CLS), Bedford Group for Lifecourse and Statistical Studies, Institute of Education, London. She was previously a Visiting Scholar and Lecturer in the Department of Sociology at Harvard University.

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