Investigating Archival Data Using the Narrative Policy Framework

Abstract

This case study describes research I carried out using the Narrative Policy Framework and archival documents in partial fulfillment of a PhD in public affairs at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. My research consisted of an analysis of 588 formal and informal communications surrounding the Sagebrush Rebellion, a public lands transfer movement in the American West in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Methodology consisted of using a grounded theoretical approach to uncover emergent themes and the Narrative Policy Framework for specific narrative elements and strategies. During this research project, I learned to focus on the whole collection of documents with a grounded theoretical approach instead of focusing purely on documents and statements that might “prove” a specific theory. Through the use of a codebook and detailed record-keeping, I was able to fully explore the documents under review—finding emergent themes that informed and, at times, challenged my overall findings. By reading this case study, readers will learn what the Narrative Policy Framework is, how to apply it to current and archival documents in concert with grounded theory, and how to incorporate it into an overall understanding of a given policy issue.

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