Exploring the sociocultural aspect of narrative inquiry: A dynamic nursing research methodology
School of Nursing and Midwifery
Background: Human beings live storied lives and it is these stories that define the “self” in a community. Narrative inquiry, aqualitative research methodology seeks to understand social and cultural experiences of people and communities by studying stories from the perspective of individuals who are living the story and relating it to time, place and person. Narrative inquiry has two aspects: (1) the lived experiences (phenomenological aspect), and (2) the interactions of the stories with the story teller’s sociocultural environment (ethnographical aspect). However, only the lived experiences aspect of narrative inquiry is overemphasized in the literature. The aspect that deals with the interactions of stories to the story teller’s sociocultural environment has been overlooked.
Aim: To explore the sociocultural feature of narrative inquiry and to demonstrate how this methodology was used to explore both lived experiences and cultural aspects of parents’ experiences of caring for preterm infants after discharge from four neonatal units in Ghana.
Conclusions: Given the dynamic nature of narrative inquiry, this article proposes that its use should not be limited to the study of experiences only. For a qualitative study that requires the study of both experiences and the interaction of participants with their sociocultural environment, narrative inquiry serves the purpose.