Narrative Gerontology in Research and Practice

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Narrative Gerontology in Research and Practice

SKU# 9780826199379

Author: Kate De Medeiros PhD


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This book will no doubt support a growing number of us who see [narrative gerontology] as a field with much potential, within and outside of academia. -- Kathy D. Lohr, Ed.D., East Carolina University, Educational Gerontology

What is meant by narrative? How can one elicit a narrative or analyze it in research? How can narrative work best be facilitated among older adults? This is the only text to provide comprehensive information about the applications of narrative approaches in community and long-term settings, writing in the virtual world, and such individual work as journaling or poetry. The book explores the theories of narratives across many disciplines, research practices and analytical strategies, and applications in work with older adults.

It has been written by a prominent researcher of the narrative construction of self in old age, whose studies have been funded by the NIH, the Brookdale Foundation, and the Alzheimer's Association, among other related achievements. The book brings together a unique blend of interdisciplinary perspectives and practices not found in other books on life stories, autobiography, and/or narrative approaches to understanding one's experiences. Specifically, it focuses on the myriad theoretical underpinnings of narrative, provides a developmental history of narrative use in gerontology, and details various ways to use narratives in a variety of research settings. Each chapter includes step-by-step guides on who to analyze and report on, and how to write up narrative data. It also discusses ways to incorporate narratives in varied practice settings such as writing workshops in retirement communities, individual writing projects, and others.

Key Features:

  • Offers a "hands on" research tool that guides the reader from theory to research to practice
  • Describes the theoretical underpinnings and practical applications of narrative with older adults
  • Illustrates how narrative gerontology is fundamentally different in practice than narrative research with younger participants
  • Addresses the breadth of available narrative methods and how to apply them in a research settings
  • Designed for use in qualitative methods, service learning, and gerontological research courses.

Product Details 

  • Publication Date December 19, 2013
  • Page Count 256
  • Product Form Paperback / softback
  • ISBN 13 9780826199379
  • EISBN 9780826199386

Table of Contents 



Part One: Theory

Chapter 1: What’s in a Name? Disentangling Narrative, Discourse, Life Story and Other Related Terms

Chapter 2: Narrative Gerontology: Where Have we Been? Where Are we Going?

Chapter 3: Self, Story and Identity

Chapter 4: Telling and Listening: What Happens When a Story is Told?

Chapter 5: Life Stories and Self Stories

Part Two: Conducting Narrative Research

Chapter 6: Truth and Interpretation in Narrative Data

Chapter 7: Power, Positioning and Ethical Considerations in Narrative Research

Chapter 8: Research Interviews: An Overview

Chapter 9: Making Sense of Interview Data

Chapter 10: Reading, Researching and Analyzing Texts

Part Three: Applying Narrative in Practice Settings

Chapter 11: Listening and Being Heard

Chapter 12: Writing and Reminiscence Groups from 1970s to Present

Chapter 13: Facilitating Group Work with Older Adults: Some Practical Considerations

Chapter 14: What Other Stories Can Be Told? Alternative Approaches and Venues

Appendix One: Interview with Joe

Appendix Two: Interview and Letter with Jane


Related Blog Posts 

There’s More to the Story than the Story: How I Fell Into Narrative Gerontology

When I tell people I’m a narrative gerontologist, they usually look perplexed.  I typically follow-up with something like, “I study stories that older people tell and write.”  Most of the time, people then give me the name of someone they know who's had an interesting life, usually someone who has traveled extensively, played a key part in a battle — something with a movie-esque quality. ... Read More