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Narratives and storytelling in qualitative research - Online

This live online course explores the use of narratives and storytelling in qualitative research. * Price:  £165 for SRA members, £220 for non-members.  It runs in one day and uses Zoom software *


"I thought the course and the teacher were excellent. I learnt a lot that will help me in my work going forward."

"This is a new research method for me, so I found that the course was pitched at the right level. It provided a good introduction to both practical and theoretical knowledge. The reading list was very useful. Karen was approachable and knowledgeable."


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.


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.




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.


Course tutor


Dr Karen Lumsden is a sociologist and criminologist at the University of Aberdeen, UK. She has a PhD in Sociology from the University of Aberdeen and has held a number of academic posts including Assistant Professor at the University of Nottingham, Associate Professor at the University of Leicester, and at Loughborough University. She has over 15 years’ experience teaching qualitative research methods to doctoral students, academics, practitioners and social researchers. This includes courses at the Universities of Aberdeen, Glasgow, Essex, Kingston, Bristol, Cardiff, and for the Social Research Association. Karen has also designed and delivered research methods training for police officers and staff via the East Midlands Policing Academic Collaboration (EMPAC) and for research consultancies. She has authored a number of academic books and journal articles on qualitative research methods and is on the Editorial Board of the Qualitative Research journal.


 This course contributes 6 hours to the MRS CPD programme


9/16/2022 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
GMT Daylight Time

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