Scandinavian Journal of Caring Sciences

Cover image for Vol. 28 Issue 4

Edited By: Åshild Slettebø and Lennart Fredriksson

Impact Factor: 1.162

ISI Journal Citation Reports © Ranking: 2013: 32/104 (Nursing (Social Science))

Online ISSN: 1471-6712

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FREE Editor's Choice paper - September 2014

The narrative structure as a way to gain insight into peoples’ experiences: one methodological approach
Åsa Rejnö, Linda Berg and Ella Danielson

In this methodological paper the authors have used the narrative method as a starting point, as it is used in several studies to illuminate the participants’ experiences of the theme that is being studied qualitatively. It may be used to reflect upon everyday practices and how people experience phenomena in life.

The aim of this study was to “examine the narrative structure, the elements in the structure and their function and how these can be used in research to gain insights into experiences”. The data consisted of interview transcripts of twelve next-of-kin narrating their experiences of a relative’s unexpected death. The focus for the analysis was the structure of the narrative rather than the content.

The results show that the narrative was primarily temporal. It was structured with a beginning, a midpoint and an ending but including repeated movements back and forth in time. The authors conclude that narrative structure analysis may be used to reveal patterns within and across narratives. It may be used to grasp recurrent or missing elements or units. Furthermore it may reveal complicating actions and what the participants find helps to resolve these, or the turning points of the narrated event.

I find this article interesting as it demonstrates a less valued type of qualitative analysis. However, narrative structure analysis may be an important supplement when accessing qualitative data, revealing interesting information not discovered otherwise.

Åshild Slettebø, Editor in Chief, SJCS

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