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Adapting the Biographic Narrative Interpretive Method for Young People

By: Published: 2014 | Product: SAGE Research Methods Cases Part 1
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In 2010, as a preregistered PhD student at the University of Chester, I began looking at possible qualitative methodological ways to study the subject of deviancy gang conformity and abstention, specifically why some disaffected youth, both male and female aged 18–25 years, living in two areas of Merseyside not only became involved in deviant youth groups and antisocial behaviour but also desisted from the growing number of street gangs and youth crime. Previous work from a methodological perspective has focused heavily on the face-to-face semi-structured interview. This study has attempted to break away from that golden stranglehold by utilising a method developed by Tom Wengraf called Biographic Narrative Interpretive Method or BNIM. This case study highlights my attempts to combat specific methodological problems that were identified during the pilot study and attempts to provide the reader with an insight into some of the difficulties and challenges I encountered while employing an approach that has, in the past, centred on much older adult participants in a health or nursing setting. Moreover, the case catalogues some of my efforts to adapt BNIM so that it worked more effectively with young disadvantaged people.

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