What are the most effective methods for doing life course research? The field's founders and leaders answer this question, giving readers tips on: the art and method of the appropriate research design; the collection of life-history data; and the search for meaningful patterns to be found in the results.

Life Reviews and Life Stories

Life Reviews and Life Stories

John A.Clausen

In this chapter, I consider some of the issues in securing people's accounts of their lives or of important segments or episodes of their lives. What are the strengths and weaknesses of life reviews as research data? How are such subjective reports to be conceptualized and interpreted? Under what circumstances and to what degree should the researcher provide a structure for life reviews as opposed to letting the respondent roam freely to tell his or her unique story? Life reviews and life stories can be used to serve many purposes, and it is critically important to attend explicitly to the type of codification of data that will be required in any particular instance. In this chapter, I draw primarily ...

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