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.

Constructing Narrative


Figure 5.1 Chapter Map

Figure 5.1

Key Learning Objectives

  • To introduce the fields of new journalism and creative non-fiction.
  • To examine the fieldwork interview as a process that creates narrative.
  • To introduce the types and characteristics of personal narratives.
  • To show how personal narratives are constructed from the perspective of a social researcher.
  • To introduce the autoethnography as a hybrid of ethnography and personal narrative.
  • Drawing on the above, to show how to put together a narrative research report, and to suggest how hypermedia and online sharing can enhance the report.


In this chapter we will focus on the writing aspect of social research, specifically on the work of producing social science texts in narrative form. Here we use mainly a connecting strategy in assembling and presenting our materials, aiming to ...

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