The Narrative Research Method

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The use of narrative research in IS has been limited although there have been some recent publications (Alvarez & Urla, 2002; Davidson, 1997; Dube & Robey, 1999, Hirschheim & Newman, 1991). Table 2 lists some of these studies. However, the clear understanding of how to conduct, interpret and describe narrative research in the context of information systems does not exist and is being provided in this paper. Here, we explain the theoretical foundations and key elements of narrative research and present an exemplar of the application of this method.
Table 2. Narrative Research in IS Authors | Research Title | Publication | Bartis, E., Mitev, N. (2008) | A multiple narrative approach to
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In this study, a brief overview of the research was followed by the open-ended question. “I am studying the role of ICT in socio-economic development; please tell me the story of your life.” The goal is to provide the storytellers with flexibility and choice to narrate the story in a way that is most comfortable to them.
According to Riessman (1993), there are five steps to conducting and analyzing narratives:
Attending. This deals with the notion of how a storyteller reflects, remembers, and recollects the “primary experience”. It is important to pay attention to how a storyteller makes sense of an experience, the context of the experience itself, and his/her selectivity of the experience.
Telling. The “performance of a personal narrative”. A storyteller sequences and orders the events of the experience in a particular way. Meaning is constructed by the storyteller about his/her experience at this level. The narrative method allows for flexibility in how the story is communicated. While oral tradition is the oldest form, other expressions such as biography, story, novel, essay or even a drawing could communicate how people interpret a phenomenon.
Transcribing. This step refers to choice of putting words into text/language, “a fixation of action” for interpretation. This step does not necessarily mean literal textual
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