Intrigued by a conversation with a front-line practitioner at a drop-in center for homeless youth, I became interested in the stories of homeless youth in special education. In my search for a suitable method to capture their educational narratives, I learned about “direct scribing.”
This case study is an account of direct scribing. Direct scribing is a careful and disciplined method to capture the narratives of homeless young persons and others of similar backgrounds. The method is conceived in terms of three interwoven processes: building rapport; conducting a series of direct scribing interview sessions to elicit/construct interviewee-driven narratives; and undertaking a process of interpretation involving the interviewee. The researcher takes on the role of a scribe and with the help of a computer simultaneously transcribes participants’ stories over multiple sessions. Meeting for multiple sessions with participants brings out the performative and analytical aspects latent in their narratives. Direct scribing is an ideal narrative-gathering method.