Narrative Methodology in Educational Research: Multiple Readings of Life Stories of Education Students

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Narrating is a fundamental and universal way that people organise their understanding of the world. Thus, many disciplines increasingly acknowledge the usefulness of narrative analysis. This paper provides an introduction to narrative research in educational research, its basic features, procedures and quandaries. The main focus is, however, on the process of narrative analysis. For this purpose, two life stories of adult women learners studying at a South African university are presented. They are analysed according to two different models, that of Labov and Lieblich respectively, to illustrate how each model contributes to the richness of interpretation and findings of the narrative. The narrators come from disadvantaged backgrounds and had poor schooling; both are teachers currently engaged in postgraduate research for teacher education qualifications. Telling their stories illustrates how they have made sense of difficult life transitions and trauma and describes their personal empowerment through educational and professional achievement.


Keywords: Narrative Methodology, Educational Research, Multiple Readings, Life Stories
Stream: Research Methodologies, Quantitative and Qualitative Methods
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
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Dr. Eleanor Maud Lemmer

Professor, Further Teacher Education, University of South Africa
Pretoria, Gauteng, South Africa

Eleanor Lemmer is professor in Comparative Education at the University of South Africa, Pretoria and has over 20 years teaching experience in distance education. She teaches qualitative research methodology and comparative education in postgraduate education courses and supervises masters and doctoral studies. Her research interests include home-school partnerships and women's issues in education. She has written several articles and books about developments in South African education and contributed to various international conferences.

Ref: I08P0265