Narrative Methodology in Educational Research: Multiple Readings of Life Stories of Education Students
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
Dr. Eleanor Maud Lemmer
Professor, Further Teacher Education, University of South Africa