2020 | 55/2 | 307-326
Article title

Intercultural experiences from the perspective of narrative interviewing: methodological pitfalls and challenges in the eyes of the student and the teacher

Title variants
Przygotowanie do komunikacji w języku obcym: rozwijanie postaw, reprezentacji i umiejętności uczących się
Languages of publication
This paper attempts to take a critical look at the narrative interview in order to identify the methodological pitfalls and challenges posed by this widely-applied research tool. It analyses the research process in a project involving sixty-four 3rd year students of applied linguistics at a large university in western Poland in the summer term of the academic year 2018/2019. The project included three stages: (1) interviewing a person from another country studying in Poland about their intercultural experiences; (2) transcribing the interviews and (3) presenting the results of their analysis in the form of a written report. On completion of their assignments, the students were asked to share their reflections on all stages of their research in an anonymous survey study. The questionnaire data was juxtaposed with analysis of the student transcripts and reports in order to identify and compare the student and the teacher perspectives on methodological aspects of narrative research. The outcomes of the survey study show that the students, as inexperienced or even first-time researchers, mostly focused on their language proficiency and technical aspects of the interview, while the teacher/researcher pointed primarily to flaws in the formulation of the interview questions and lack of subsequent probing questions, which resulted in superficial responses or even at times deprived the interview of a narrative character. The study also documented the evolution of students as researchers and its results might be applicable for teachers offering courses in academic writing or BA/MA seminars.
Physical description
  • Uniwersytet im. Adama Mickiewicza w Poznaniu
  • Bakhtin M. (1986), The problem of speech genres, (in:) Emerson C., Holquist M. (eds.), Speech genres and other late essays. Austin: University of Texas Press, pp. 60–102.
  • Beszterda R. (2016), Pułapki wywiadu w badaniach biograficznych. Doświadczenia etnologiczne, (in:) Piorunek M. (ed.), Badania biograficzne i narracyjne w perspektywie interdyscyplinarnej. Aplikacje–egzemplifikacje–dylematy metodologiczne. Poznań: Wydawnictwo Naukowe UAM, pp. 85–97.
  • Boje D.M. (1991), The storytelling organization: A study of story performance in an office-supply firm. “Administrative Science Quarterly”, No 36(1), pp. 106–126.
  • Cameron L. (2003), Metaphor in educational discourse. London: Continuum.
  • Coates J. (1996), Women talk. Oxford: Blackwell.
  • Connelly F.M., Clandini D.J. (1990), Stories of experience and narrative inquiry. “Educational Researcher”, No 19(5), pp. 2–14.
  • Cresswell J.W. (1998), Qualitative inquiry and research design: Choosing among five traditions. London: Sage.
  • Czarniawska B., Gagliardi P. (eds.) (2003), Narratives we organize by. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
  • Daiute C., Lightfoot C. (eds.) (2004), Narrative analysis: Studying the development of individuals in society. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
  • Dörnyei Z. (2007), Research methods in applied linguistics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Elliot J. (2005), Using narrative in social research. Qualitative and quantitative approaches. London: Sage Publications.
  • Errante A. (2000), But sometimes you’re not part of the story: Oral histories and ways of remembering and telling. “Educational Researcher”, No 29(2), pp. 16–27.
  • Fetterman D. (1998), Ethnography: Step by step. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.
  • Gabriel Y. (2000), Storytelling in organizations: Facts, fictions, and fantasies. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Gertsen M.C., Søderberg A.-M. (2010), Expatriate stories about cultural encounters: A narrative approach to cultural learning processes in multinational companies. “Scandinavian Journal of Management”, No 26, pp. 248–257.
  • Gertsen M.C., Søderberg A.-M. (2011), Intercultural collaboration stories: On narrative inquiry and analysis as tools for research in international business. “Journal of International Business Studies”, No 42(6), pp. 787–804.
  • Gudmundsdottir S. (2001), Narrative research on school practice, (in:) Richardson V. (ed.), Handbook of research on teaching. Washington: American Educational Research Association, pp. 226–240.
  • Heikkinen H.L.T. (2002), Whatever is narrative research? (in:) Huttunen R., Heikkinen H.L.T., Syrjälä L. (eds.), Narrative research: Voices of teachers and philosophers. Jyväskylä: SoPhi, pp. 13–28.
  • Holmes J., Marra M. (2005), Narrative and the construction of professional identity: The workplace, (in:) Thornborrow J., Coates J. (eds.), The sociolinguistics of narrative. Amsterdam: Benjamins, pp. 191–213.
  • Karch F. (2017). Narrative interviewing, (in:) M. Allen (ed.), The SAGE encyclopedia of communication research methods. Thousand Oaks: SAGE Publications, Inc., pp. 1073–1075.
  • Lofland J. et al. (2006), Analyzing social settings: A guide to qualitative observation and analysis. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/Thomson Learning.
  • Moen T. (2006), Reflections on the narrative research approach. “International Journal of Qualitative Methods”, No 5(4), pp. 56–69.
  • Noddings N., (1991). Stories in dialogue: Interpersonal reasoning, (in:) Witherell C, Noddings N. (eds.). Stories lives tell: Narrative and dialogue in education. New York: Teachers College Press, pp. 157–170.
  • Patton M.Q. (2002), Qualitative research and evaluation methods. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
  • Polkinghorne D.E. (1988), Narrative knowing and the human sciences. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.
  • Riessman C.K. (1993), Narrative analysis. Newbury Park, CA Sage.
  • Riessman C.K. (2008), Narrative methods for the human sciences. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.
  • Robson C. (2002), Real world research: A resource for social scientists and practitioner-researchers. Oxford: Blackwell.
  • Schiffrin D. (1996), Narrative as a self portrait. Sociolinguistic construction of identity. “Language in Society”, No 25(2), pp. 167–203.
  • Søderberg A.-M. (2006), Narrative interviewing and narrative analysis in a study of a cross-border merger. “Management International Review”, No 46(4), pp. 397–416.
  • Søderberg A.-M., Worm V. D. (2011), Communication and collaboration in subsidiaries in China: Chinese and expatriate accounts. “European Journal of Cross-Cultural Competence and Management”, No 2(1), pp. 54–76.
  • Swain M., Kinnear P., Steinman L. (2011), Sociocultural theory in second language education. Bristol-Buffalo-Toronto: Multilingual Matters.
  • Vygotsky L.S. (1978), Mind in society: The development of higher psychological processes. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
  • Wąsikiewicz-Firlej E. (2014), Constructing the professional identity of EFL teachers through languaging: A narrative inquiry, (in:) Lankiewicz, H., Wąsikiewicz-Firlej, E. (eds.), Languaging experiences: Learning and teaching revisited. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Pub-lishing, pp. 157–190.
  • Weick K.E., Sutcliffe K.M., Obstfeld D. (2005), Organizing and the process of sensemaking. Organization Science”, No 16(4), pp. 409–421.
  • Wilczewski M., Søderberg A-M. (2017), Badania nad komunikacją międzykulturową: Dotychczasowe paradygmaty i perspektywy badawcze. „Zeszyty Prasoznawcze”, No 3(231), pp. 540–566.
  • Zellermayer M. (1997), When we talk about collaborative curriculum-making, what are we talking about? “Curriculum Inquiry”, No 27(2), pp. 187–214.
Document Type
Publication order reference
YADDA identifier
JavaScript is turned off in your web browser. Turn it on to take full advantage of this site, then refresh the page.