The importance of narrative

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DoctoralWriting SIG

by Cally Guerin

It seems that everywhere I look, people are becoming more and more focused on narrative in all sorts of academic and research writing. Whether it is an application for a research grant, a report on completed research or when applying for a teaching award, the constant refrain is: ‘Try to tell more of a story about this’. It is particularly common to be encouraged to write literature reviews – and even entire theses – as if they are a ‘story’.

What is this about? I suspect that these demands for storytelling refer to a need to add value to what might otherwise simply be a list of ideas. The writer needs to interpret and join up the bare facts of the case, not just present that information and wait for the reader to infer what it all means. Perhaps narrativising is also a way of engaging the…

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One response »

  1. This is a post by Dr Cally Guerin which I found very useful and thought many of you would too. It comes from a blog called ‘Doctoral writing’ – you may want to look it up.

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