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Social Research MattersA Life in Family Sociology$
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Julia Brannen

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781529208566

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781529208566.001.0001

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Life Stories: Biographical and Narrative Analysis

Life Stories: Biographical and Narrative Analysis

(p.157) 8 Life Stories: Biographical and Narrative Analysis
Social Research Matters

Julia Brannen

Policy Press

This chapter discusses the growing interest in the use of auto/biographical approaches in the social sciences. Narrative research and narrative analysis are umbrella terms that refer to data available in a variety of forms and produced for a variety of purposes. Such data can be spoken, written or visual. Narrative approaches are not allied to any one set of methods of data collection or analysis. Meanwhile, life history methods are guided by the aim to elicit life course transitions, their ordering, and their relationship to historical processes, social structure, and social institutions. Biographic-narrative interpretative methods and similar methods need to be supplemented by more conventional forms of interviewing if they are to address a study's objectives and research questions. The chapter then describes the life histories of two men, which illustrate changes in fatherhood across family generations. Ultimately, the type of approach examined in this chapter suggests the complex interplay between the way people speak about their experiences and the structures against which such talk needs to be understood.

Keywords:   biographical approaches, social sciences, narrative research, narrative analysis, data collection, life history, life history methods, life course transitions, interviewing, fatherhood

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