This book responds to the ever-growing production and consumption of stories of all kinds in popular and academic cultures. Narrative is a fundamental means whereby we make sense of our own lives and of the world around us, but we are not often aware that we shape our identities and relationships through narrative. Keeping of a traditional diary was always a minority pursuit but all that changed after blogging and social networking: with over 700 million users and growing, Facebook is the biggest but by no means the only truly global platform for the creation and exchange of all kinds of narratives. Digital media and social networking offer us accessible and exciting means for the reading, writing, re-mixing and sharing narrative. This book opens up all of these issues to the reader, while teaching how narrative research is done. Brian Alleyne teaches Sociology at Goldsmiths, University of London.

Narrative Ways of Knowing


Figure 2.1 Chapter Map

Figure 2.1

Key Learning Objectives

  • To review key ideas in the methodology of social research.
  • To outline the main positions in ontology and epistemology.
  • To outline four research strategies: induction, deduction, retroduction, and abduction.
  • To present the key features of narrative analysis and analysis of narrative.
  • To present issues that are relevant for making generalisations from narrative research.
  • To review issues of validity and reliability from the perspective of the narrative researcher.


In this chapter I present a survey of some key concepts in the methodology and philosophy of social science that are most relevant to the narrative researcher. Taken together, these form the basis not just for the chapter but also inform much of the rest of the book. We then move to look ...

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