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HSS Research Methodologies: Life Histories / Autobiographies

Definition | Life Histories / Autobiographies

"Producing life stories is an increasingly popular form of narrative-based inquiry in fields as diverse as anthropology, education, gerontology, history, law, medicine, psychology, sociology, and women's studies. Methods of inquiry into lived experience appear under such labels as autobiography, biography, autoethnography, life history, and oral history. Despite their differences, the common purpose of these methods is to inquire into lived experience and to re-present that experience in a narrative form that provides rich detail and context about the life (or lives) in question. Life storytelling can be understood as an intellectual site where the narrative turn in the social sciences meets the desire to exercise the descriptive and analytic processes that C. Wright Mills famously called the 'sociological imagination'." See Given (2008)

See also Narrative Inquiry Research Method

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