Story Circles: A New Method of Narrative Research

Philippa Parks 1 *

AM J QUALITATIVE RES, Volume 7, Issue 1, pp. 58-72

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Narrative research collects and tells stories about people’s lives. It is a recognized methodology for exploring identity development in educational research. This article describes the Story Circle method, an innovation in narrative research data collection and analysis that was used in a project looking at identity construction in pre-service teachers. In the Story Circle method, the researcher uses a focus group type setting to gather large quantities of narrative data generated from several participants to explore commonalities in the data. The narrative data generated by the Story Circles method in this project was rich in both quantity and quality, with over two hundred anecdotes generated over six one-hour sessions. The paper describes the approaches and protocols of data collection and analysis of this method and discusses some of the benefits of using this approach, especially for researchers interested in incorporating narrative research in mixed methods.

Keywords: Focus groups, narrative inquiry, narrative research methods, teacher identity.