Narrative and Biographical Methodologies in Education Research and Enterprise Group

Organization profile

Profile Information

The narrative and biographical methodologies in education research and enterprise group, develops critical and original insights into human thought and action in the field of education in contemporary society. Led by Professor Ivor Goodson and Dr Keith Turvey, the group brings together scholars who listen to educators’ and learners’ stories and examine their life histories to better understand their experiences and worldviews.

“We live in an age of narrative: life stories are a crucial ingredient in what makes us human and, in addition, in determining what kind of human we become.”

Life history and narrative research allow us to explore and offer insights into the experiences, identities, life worlds and knowledge of learners and practitioners in all areas and phases of education. We focus on narrative methodology and theory, biographical and autoethnographic methods of enquiry, listening to and developing stories and self-narratives of education. In addition to teacher and learner life histories, we consider the importance and influence of historical and ideological context, and the relevance and importance of narrative in understanding and facilitating educators’ learning, development and working lives. The aim is to examine life histories to better understand the role of experience in the construction of identity, culture and pedagogy. This approach explores:

  • new, progressive and boundary-pushing ways to conduct research
  • life-history, autoethnography and self-narrative
  • methodologies that value and legitimise personal experience and creative and evocative academic work
  • the relationships between educational experience, learning and pedagogy.

Past, Present and Future

Our projects explore the extent to which narrative encounter can inform and transform learning.

We have completed a large-scale longitudinal study, using interviews, observation and a life-history approach to trace learning biographies of a wide range of adults in different contexts and stages of their lives. By gaining a deeper understanding about the complexities of learning throughout the life course, we identified, implemented and evaluated learning, teaching and guidance strategies relating to opportunities, dispositions and practices.

In a pioneering study, we collected 90 narrative accounts to make sense of the experience of second-generation emigrants relocating to their ancestral homeland – the birthplace of their parents. We examined issues of identity, home and belonging using innovative methodology.

We will continue to explore the potential of narrative and biographical methodologies, their value and potential applications to a number of different aspects of research, teaching, learning, and their power as a tool that can help coalescence and activism across sectors, fields and boundaries.

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    Research Output

    Autoethnos: stories from the self

    Diab, S., 13 Apr 2018

    Research output: Non-textual outputExhibition

  • Open Access
  • Learning analytics and its metrics – approaching an educational frame via a social semiotic pathway

    Bachmair, B., Turvey, K., Cook, J. & Pachler, N., 20 Sep 2018, In : Medienimpulse. 3, p. 1-17 17 p., 1.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access
  • Activities

    Journal of Education for Teaching (Journal)

    Viv Ellis (Editor), Mariana Souto-Manning (Editor) & Keith Turvey (Editor)

    Jan 2019

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workEditorial work

    The Conversation (Publisher)

    Matthew Adams (Reviewer)

    10 Oct 2018

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workPublication Peer-review

    Climate change: trauma & transformations

    Matthew Adams (Presenter)

    22 Sep 2018

    Activity: External talk or presentationInvited talk