Narratives and storytelling in qualitative research


One day, Foundation level. London. Price for SRA members: £202.50

*Prices for 2019 courses have increased to £270 per day; SRA members receive a 25% discount, paying £202.50*

Click here for more information


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 shedding 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 artefacts.


By the end of the workshop, participants will:

  • • Have knowledge of narrative inquiry as a qualitative research technique.
  • • Understand the benefits which narratives and stories offer for understanding people’s lived experience and meanings.
  • • Have an awareness of the different types of narrative inquiry that can be employed in research 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.
  • • Be aware of the practical and ethical issues which must be considered when using narratives and storytelling as method.


During the course we will cover:

  • • What is narrative inquiry?
  • • Why use stories in research?
  • • Different forms of narrative inquiry.
  • • 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 artefacts.
  • • Self-narratives i.e. auto-ethnography.
  • • 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 at a foundational level 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 narratives and storytelling in qualitative research, and to practice some of the techniques involved. As well as providing a grounding in the principles and theories, participants will gain hands-on experience of using various techniques of narrative inquiry. Some prior knowledge of qualitative research methods is advisable.

Learning outcomes

  • • Understand the various ways in which narratives and storytelling are employed in qualitative research.
  • • Understand the theories underpinning narratives.
  • • Gain knowledge of the various forms of narratives which can be employed in qualitative research.
  • • 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 using storytelling and narratives in research.

Course tutor

Dr Karen Lumsden is an independent researcher, scholar, consultant, and is founder of The Qualitative Researcher. She is a sociologist and criminologist with expertise in qualitative research methods, and applied research with a range of audiences including police forces and the College of Policing.

Karen has a PhD in Sociology from the University of Aberdeen and has previously held posts at the University of Leicester, Loughborough University, the University of Abertay Dundee, and the University of Aberdeen. She has experience of teaching qualitative research methods at postgraduate level and to academics and practitioners. Karen is the author of over 40 publications including four books, is on the Editorial Board of the journal Sociology, and is currently the Editor-in-Chief of Sociological Research Online.

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

Price for SRA members: £202.50. 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 25 September 2019 at 12 noon.

Price: £270.00

Start Time: 9:30 am
End Time: 5:00 pm

Date: September 26, 2019

Registration Details

Personal Information

Your name, organisation and job title will be put 'as is' on name badges and delegate lists (where used), so please check spelling, Capitals, etc

This course is paperless

NO course materials will be handed out at this course. We will email you a link and you'll need to download course materials, and bring them with you on a laptop/tablet (or print copies)

How are you paying?

Purchase Order, address for invoice

Skip this section ONLY If you are paying online. Otherwise please enter the Purchase Order no. (required), name, and address to go on the invoice. OUR SYSTEM IS SELF-SERVICE SO YOU *MUST* DOWNLOAD THE INVOICE AT THE END OF THE BOOKING PROCESS: click 'Paying with an invoice' and 'Download PDF invoice.'

SRA members, enter promo code for discount

Members MUST enter the Promo Code to get a discount. If you can't remember the code, please contact the SRA office.