Narratives and storytelling in qualitative research


One day, Foundation level. Manchester. Price for SRA members: £195

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Summary / overview

Narrative inquiry is a valuable investigative technique in qualitative research. Narrative inquiry and storytelling offer us a different way of knowing, of investigating the lived experiences of individuals, and of exploring subjectivity. Narrative knowledge is created and constructed through the stories of lived experience and sense-making, the meanings people afford to them, and therefore offers valuable insight into the complexity of human lives, cultures, and behaviours. It allows us to capture the rich data within stories, including for example giving insight into feelings, beliefs, images and time. It also takes account of the relationship between individual experience and the wider social and cultural contexts. Crucially, it also involves collaborative inquiry and co-construction of meaning between participants and the researcher. Examples of narrative inquiry in qualitative research include for instance: stories, interviews, life histories, journals, photographs and other artifacts.


By the end of the workshop, participants will:

  • ● Have knowledge of narrative inquiry as a qualitative research technique.
  • ● Understand the benefits which narrative inquiry and stories offer for understanding people’s lived experience and meanings.
  • ● Be able to demonstrate knowledge of the theories of narrative analysis.
  • ● Have an awareness of the different types of narrative analysis that can be employed in practice.
  • ● Have conducted their own narrative inquiry using a variety of texts and/or images.
  • ● Understand the additional benefits offered through the use of self-narratives (i.e. auto-ethnography).
  • ● Be aware of the practical and ethical issues which must be considered when conducting narrative inquiry.

Learning outcomes

  • ● Understand the various ways in which narrative analysis is employed in qualitative research.
  • ● Understand the theories underpinning narrative analysis.
  • ● Gain knowledge of the various forms of narrative analysis which can be employed in qualitative research.
  • ● Be able to undertake a narrative analysis as evidenced in practical activities.
  • ● Understand the role that collaboration plays between researcher and participant in narrative inquiry.
  • ● Demonstrate awareness of the ethical and practical issues which must be considered when conducting narrative analysis.


During the course we will cover:

  • ● What is narrative inquiry?
  • ● Why use stories in research?
  • ● Theories of narrative analysis.
  • ● Different forms of narrative analysis.
  • ● The importance of collaboration between researcher and participant.
  • ● How to conduct narrative inquiry including various examples such as: stories, interviews, life histories, journals, photography, and artifacts.
  • ● Self-narratives i.e. autoethnography.
  • ● Ethical and practical issues to consider.

Who will benefit 

This course will benefit participants who wish to advance their knowledge of qualitative research methods by exploring the benefits that narratives and stories offer as a method of inquiry in a range of applied and policy settings and contexts. This one-day course is designed to help participants become aware of narrative analysis and storytelling in qualitative research, and to practice some of the techniques involved. As well as providing a grounding in the principles and theories of narrative analysis, participants will gain hands-on experience of using the techniques of narrative inquiry and of conducting narrative analysis. Some prior knowledge of qualitative research methods is advisable.

Course tutor

Dr Karen Lumsden is Senior Lecturer in Sociology at Loughborough University and has a PhD in Sociology from the University of Aberdeen. She has experience of teaching qualitative research methods at postgraduate level and to academics and practitioners. This includes courses at the University of Aberdeen, University of Glasgow, University of Essex and Kingston University, and for the Social Research Association. Karen has also designed and delivered social research methods training for police via the East Midlands Policing Academic Collaboration (EMPAC).

Karen is an experienced qualitative researcher and ethnographer. Her work has engaged with diverse end-users including police forces, local authorities, victim organisations and young people, as she produces findings to assist future policy and practice. She has published extensively in international journals and has authored books based on ethnographic encounters and reflexivity (i.e. Boy Racers: Youth Masculinity and Deviance, and Reflexivity in Criminological Research).

mrs cpd logo This course contributes 6 hours to the MRS CPD programme

Price for SRA members: £195. Use the discount code emailed to you.

VAT is not charged for SRA courses.

If you are unsure of your code, or haven't received one, please contact us.

Want to book 2+ people at the same time? We need to adjust the system to allow this, so email admin[at]the-sra[dot]

Registration on the day is from 9.00 - 9.30 am.


Cancellation policy: Full refund if cancelled 21 days or more from the course date.  No refund if cancelled 20 days or fewer from the course date.

Registrations for this course will not be accepted after 20 September 2018 at 12 noon.

We are sorry but registration for this event is now closed.

Please contact us if you would like to know if spaces are still available.