Top Four Reasons to use the Narrative as a Research Strategy

People tell stories in every culture although they vary in form and purpose, these are often known as narratives. Narratives are always present in different group settings and scholars are noting that storytelling is a compelling endeavor that is universal. Stories are passed on from generation to generation and sometimes they are folk tales while others are real life stories. “The narrative gift is as distinctively human as our upright posture and our opposable thumb and forefinger,” psychologist Jerome Bruner says.
Oral narrative plays an essential part in oral history along with description, explanation, and reflection. Some narrators when asked questions they tend to answer with stories, but reliability on these techniques of collecting information has waned over the years, as reliability on these forms of data collection have long been put to question. it is only in the last 30 years that the oral narrative has started to become a respected form of data collection by academians.
Famous psychologists have concluded that in the fields of psychology, gender studies, education, anthropology, sociology, linguistics, law, and history, narrative studies are flourishing as a means of understanding the personal identity, lifestyle, culture and historical world of the narrator.
Scholars are seeking other means of learning about humans and this includes narrations. Also, a current influence that affects acceptance of narrative research is the postmodernist view that observations of human actions are shifting, never conclusive, always the product of the culture in which they are embedded.

So why use the Narrative?

The Doorway to Thoughts and Imagination.

Doorway to thoughts and imagination

The power or narratives corresponds to the way of thinking and imagination. When one is giving a personal account, they have the freedom to really dive into people’s deepest thoughts and feelings that occurred, in their lifetime relevant to the area of study.

Oral Historians can Live Through the Process

Oral Historians Live Through the Process

Not only is the oral historian collecting data, but it invites them to consider not only the results of understanding but to live through the processes of reaching it.

Enter the Living Space of Another

Enter the living space of the Another

It never tears asunder ideas and feelings; it moves us by permitting us to enter the living space of another: it is perceived as testimony.



It specifically provides for the complicit engagement of the listener. This will lead the narrator to open up and give more information than the oral historian might have anticipated to receive.



Anthropologist Ruth Behar says that life histories give us the information that general studies, supposed to be typical accounts, obscure: “Rather than looking at social and cultural systems solely as they impinge on a life, shape it, and turn it into an object, a life history should allow one to see how an actor makes culturally meaningful history, how history is produced in action and in the actor’s retrospective reflections on that action. Look out for my next post on Legal issues surrounding oral historians.

That’s it for this post, I do hope it was helpful. Also, have a look at my post on Limitations of Oral History Evidence that’s related to this post. Keep us in mind for all your oral transcription needs. Have a wonderful day and stay safe and remember always be kind try to stay positive and learn to unwind.

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