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Narrative Analysis: What’s in a Story?

What is Narrative Analysis?

Narratives can come from scrutinizingly anything; interviews, books, blogs, journals, diaries, autobiographies, podcasts, videos, audio recordings, anywhere someone is telling a story. Narrative wringer is the technique of using those narratives to write a research question, to examine merchantry issues, to understand or develop public policy, etc.[1] It is a form of qualitative, mixed methods research where the story is the data.

What are the variegated models of narrative analysis?

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Narrative wringer can take many forms or approaches including what is the content of the story, how the story is structured, what functions it serves, linguistics, context, or what is the thread weaving its way through variegated narratives. One can moreover combine variegated types of narratives in an wringer such as a literature review and interviews. One typically looks at narratives to discover key themes and ideas and then describes these narratives in increasingly detail and shows how they impact policy and decision-making. The source material often includes large amounts of text documents to organize and analyze. As a result, researchers commonly employ qualitative coding techniques in their analysis. This involves both transmission and computer assistance using qualitative coding software such as QDA Miner.

There are many ways to tideway narrative analysis. In this Blog, we cannot do justice to them all. To requite you a largest understanding and to illustrate some of the practical applications of narrative analysis, we will squint at two examples of narrative wringer exploring very variegated subject matter. Amabile & Kramer (2011) squint at the narratives created by diary entries.  Patrick, Schoeneborn, & Wickert (2012) explore the narratives that contribute to the standardization of corporate responsibility. These papers use variegated types of source material and take variegated approaches in their narrative analysis.

Some examples of narrative analysis.

In their typesetting “The Progress Principle”, Ambile & Kramer (2011) are looking to find out what motivates workers to be creative, to progress at work every day.  They moreover squint at how managers can leverage this progress, providing them with whoopee items or a trammels list to create a positive work environment. The proposition is that regular small wins can make workers finger good well-nigh themselves and encourages them to find solutions to problems and move forward. On the opposite, small losses can have a surprisingly negative impact. The authors are searching for worldwide criteria management can use to foster a positive work environment.

the progress Principle

To gather data, the authors engaged 26 project teams from seven companies. This involved 238 individuals and produced scrutinizingly 12,000 diary entries based on wits at work. The diary entries were coded using QDA Miner qualitative wringer software to find narratives that could help discover what motivated good work. The narratives in the diaries established that, obviously, big successes in the workplace unsalaried to positive feelings of well-being but these happen rarely. What is most important here is that small wins moreover play a very important role. People finger good well-nigh themselves and their work. Equally important is that small wins are much increasingly hands attained and can happen increasingly commonly leading to a positive feeling among employees and a increasingly productive work environment.

In Patrick, Schoeneborn, & Wickert (2012), through narrative analysis, the authors study the standardization of corporate responsibility by combining two sources, interviews and public documents.

In order to identify the type and incubation of narratives in CR standardization, we pursued a two-tiered analysis. First, we aggregated prevalent narrative patterns that we detected in a series of interviews. Drawing on the interview findings, we then quantitatively identified narratives and “surface stories” in public documents. Second, we tracked the lifecycle of identified narrative patterns. This unliable us to build a longitudinal unravelment of narratives, i.e., to elucidate “narrative dynamics.”

Interviews were conducted face-to-face and over the telephone with variegated businesses and experts. Without a lengthy human and computer-assisted coding process using QDA Miner (details of which are explained in the paper) the authors consolidated the codes into a set of “surface stories” such as walk-the-walk, talk-the-talk, greenwash, promise-to-act, adoption, merchantry case, outreach. These were coalesced into three main narratives: success narrative, failure narrative, and transferral narrative.

Among other things, the paper poses that the narrative surrounding standardization of corporate responsibility is dependent and influenced by many voices including industry experts and observers.

These papers are just two examples of narrative analysis. The technique can be unromantic to scrutinizingly any discipline: history, political science, marketing, consumer behavior, anthropology, sociology, health care, education, communication, etc. Or in other words, wherever there is a story to tell.


Amabile, T., & Kramer, S. (2011). The progress principle: Using small wins to ignite joy, engagement, and creativity at work. Harvard Merchantry Press.

Patrick, H., Schoeneborn, D., Wickert, C. (2012) Talking the Talk, Moral Entrapment, Creeping Commitment? Exploring Narrative Dynamics in Corporate Responsibility Standardization

Other Papers Using QDA Miner in Narrative analysis

Ali, N., Waters, V., & Erdman, K. (2015). A qualitative wringer of physician teammate students’ mental health bias and stigma constructs surpassing and without a psychiatry rotation. Journal of the American Academy of PAs, 28(10), 1.

Elisondo, R. C., & Vargas, A. C. V. (2019). Women’s everyday creative activities: A qualitative study.

García, M. L. S., & Cano, E. V. (2014). Wringer of the didactic use of tablets in the European Higher Education Area. International Journal of Educational Technology in Higher Education, 11(3), 63–77.

Haile, K., Umer, H., Fanta, T., Birhanu, A., Fejo, E., Tilahun, Y., & Damene, W. (2020). Pathways through homelessness among women in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia: A qualitative study. Plos one, 15(9), e0238571.

Mathias, B. D., & Smith, A. D. (2016). Autobiographies in organizational research: using leaders’ life stories in a triangulated research design. Organizational Research Methods, 19(2), 204–230.

Yang, K. C., & Kang, Y. (2020). What Can College Teachers Learn From Students’ Experiential Narratives in Hybrid Courses? : A Text Mining Method of Longitudinal Data. In Theoretical and Practical Approaches to Innovation in Higher Education (pp. 91–112). IGI Global.

Yee, H. H., Fong, B. Y., Ng, T. K., & Chow, B. S. (2020). Community ageing with health and nobility through a service-learning initiative. Asia Pacific Journal of Health Management, 15(2), 11–17.