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Narrative analysis

Narrative analysis
An advanced level course on qualitative data analysis technique using narrative analysis.


Narrative analysis is a valuable data analysis technique in qualitative research. It is typically used in those studies which have already employed narrative inquiry as a qualitative method. 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. Narrative analysis uses the ‘story’ as the unit of analysis, in contrast to thematic and other forms of qualitative analysis.

Narrative analysis is useful for practitioners and researchers who wish to focus on individual experiences, eg. via collected stories and unstructured interviews.  Examples of possible applications include case studies; patients’ experiences of health care services or illness; life stories and experiences of social care clients; victims’ experiences of the criminal justice system.




By the end of the workshop, participants will:

  • Have knowledge of narrative analysis as a qualitative data analysis technique.
  • Be aware of the relationship between narrative inquiry in qualitative research and narrative analysis.
  • Be aware of the different models of narrative analysis.
  • Understand the benefits which narrative analysis offers for interpreting and making sense of ‘whole’ stories.
  • Have conducted their own narrative analysis using a selection of the various models covered in the workshop.
  • Be aware of the research contexts in which narrative analysis is potentially valuable and effective.




During the course we will cover:

  • What is narrative analysis?
  • Models of narrative analysis
  • Codes, patterns, themes and categories
  • ‘Narrative meaning’ and ‘narrative smoothing’ (Etherington, 2004)
  • Interpretations of ‘faith’ and ‘suspicion’
  • Narrative analysis in narrative genres and arts-based inquiry
  • Practicing conducting your own narrative analysis


Who will benefit?


This advanced training course is relevant for those who have undertaken the SRA foundation course on Narratives and Storytelling (or similar course), or who have already completed their own narrative inquiry. It will benefit participants who wish to advance their knowledge of qualitative research methods by exploring the benefits that narrative analysis offers in a range of applied and policy settings and contexts.

**Prior knowledge of qualitative research methods and storytelling and narrative inquiry is advisable.


Learning outcomes


  • Understand what we mean by narrative analysis and interpretation.
  • Have knowledge of different models of narrative analysis.
  • Understand the relationship between qualitative research, narrative inquiry, and narrative analysis and how this informs selection of model of narrative analysis.
  • Be able to undertake a narrative analysis as evidenced in practical activities.


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.

This course contributes 6 hours to the MRS CPD programme

12/5/2019 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM

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