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Five-Day Training Intensive
Biographic-Narrative-Interpretive Method : BNIM
Narrative Interview and Interpretation
5 days for 6 people:
October 4th and 5th, (weekend free) and then Monday 8th to Wednesday 10th
24a Princes Avenue, London N10 3LR
Muswell Hill, North London, United Kingdom
The value of open-narrative interviewing and insightful interpretation is
widely recognised, but rather than having to invent the wheel for
themselves, many people welcome a systematic textbook-backed immersion into
principles and procedures that have been shown over two decades and many
countries to generate constantly high-quality work.
For over twelve years in the UK and in Ireland, as well as in Auckland (NZ),
Ljubljana (Slovenia), New York (USA) and Sydney (Australia), we have been
running BNIM intensive trainings designed for PhD students and for
postdoctoral researchers (both individuals and research teams) for use in
various pure and applied fields. Comments include:
Elvin – A richness beyond what I could imagine.
Sasha - thank you, for a wonderful training course. I learnt so much - and
it was a great experience for us all as a team, and in terms of all of our
intellectual and skills development.
Mark – I could go away and practice now. I liked the balance of how and why.
I really got my head round that and could explain it to someone else.
An excerpt from an email we received from one university may be suggestive:
“… a number of the trainees who graduated this year got top awards in their
doctorate projects... BNIM and narrative projects were considered to be of a
particularly high standard by both internal and external examiners, and were
very well received. The course director was very impressed and has told me
that the standard of the research of those undertaking these projects [using
BNIM] has improved the standard of the whole cohort.”
Already completed PhDs, clinical doctorates, and a few MA theses by
researchers using BNIM now number 59, and we know of at least another 30
PhDs, clinical doctorates and post-doctoral research projects in process.
There may well be others. The trend is rising sharply. 23 were submitted in
the eight years between 2001 and 2009: 30 more were submitted just in the
three years between 2009 and 2011.
A very few of the topics covered: intergenerational transmission; cultures
of informal care in changing European regimes; social strategies in risk
societies; ; migration; children in orphanages, the cultures of innovative
organisations; the culture of motor bikers; reintegration of returning
Guatemalan refugees; identity in informal care; men coping with sexual
abuse; psychoanalytic study of breast cancer; love and intimacy; motivation
in occupational therapy; nurses’ and health visitors’ learning and their
professional practices; relationship experiences in psychosis (such as those
of, and with, hearing voices people) and hospitalisation; female aboriginal
head teachers in Australia; students on different types of degree and
training programmes; fishing practices in Uganda, treatment decisions around
and experiences of the elderly in hospitals; memories of wars, military
occupations, and massacres; midwife experiences; treatment decisions around
and experiences of the elderly in hospitals.
Increasing numbers of post-doctoral funded collective research projects use
BNIM (details in the free BNIM Short Guide and Detailed Manual).
Anglophone universities involved include Auckland (NZ), Birkbeck College,
Birmingham, Central Lancashire, Dublin (Ireland) , de Montfort, East Anglia,
East London, Essex, Exeter, National University of Ireland (Ireland),, Idaho
(USA), Indiana (USA), Kings College London, Leeds, Leicester, Manchester,
Massey (NZ), Middlesex, Oxford, Oxford Brookes, Plymouth, Sussex, Queens
University Belfast, Vilnius (Lithuania)
BNIM assumes that “narrative” expresses both conscious concerns and
unconscious cultural, societal and individual presuppositions and processes.
Integrally psycho-societal, it supports research into the lived experience
and reflexivity of individuals and collectives, facilitating understanding
both the ‘inner’ and the ‘outer’ worlds of ‘historically-evolving
persons-in-historically-evolving situations’, and particularly the
expectedly surprising interactivity of inner and outer world dynamics.
It especially serves researchers who want to think psycho-societally and
who need a tool that supports understanding spanning sociological and
psychological dynamics and structures, and these treated not statically but
as situated, affected and active historically and biographically.
For some examples of BNIM case studies, some in areas with which you are
probably concerned, see maybe the European Union 7-country SOSTRIS project
Biography and social exclusion in Europe: experiences and life-journeys
(2002: Bristol, Policy Press). Other books, articles, reports etc. are
listed in the Bibliography A of the BNIM Short Guide (and Detailed Manual),
electronic copy free on request.
BNIM research provides an innovative base for policy review and for better
policy, and for professional or activist practice, and the upgrading of
theory and descriptions.
When you do the course, you automatically become a member of the
<Biographic-narrative-BNIM> email list where news, questions and discussion
circulate. Innovative and advanced methodology can be lonely without a
secure base and contact with like-minded people working in the same way as
The course, the textbook, the free and constantly updated BNIM Short Guide
and Detailed Manual and the email list (currently around 290 strong) all
offer you support in using part or all of the BNIM tool-kit in your own work
and for liaising with others.
Designed for PhD students and professional researchers, the course provides
a thorough training in doing BNIM biographic narrative interviews, together
with ‘hands-on experience’ of following BNIM interpretation procedures.
Students develop a sense of how their own research projects might use such
aspects and components.
With two tutors (Tom Wengraf and Mariya Stoilova) , we ensure close coaching
and support for the intensive work that is needed for you to fully acquire
both the understanding of principles and also the practical capacity for
proceeding with the systematic procedures involved in BNIM – usable both for
BNIM but also for other types of narrative interviewing and interpretation.
You will be expected to have looked at chapters 6 and 12 of Tom’s textbook,
Qualitative research interviewing: biographic narrative and semi-structured
method (2001: Sage Publications). Before the course starts, you are expected
to have studied some bits and scanned others of the most recent version of
the BNIM Short Guide and Detailed Manual which will be sent to your email
Your previous preparing-by-reading means that most of your time can be spent
on clarification and practical exercises during the 5 days,
Programme (subject to revision) for 5-day intensives
Thursday and Friday
We start with a short introduction to the Biographic-narrative-interpretive
method, the history of its development, and to the principles behind its
practice. The point and timing of using open-ended biographic narrative
interviews rather than (only) the more conventional semi-structured and
attitude-and-argument focused ones is clarified. You get to see the value of
the 3 quite different subsessions. The bulk of the first two days is then
almost entirely devoted to learning the craft of BNIM interviewing practice.
This involves learning to ask narrative-pointed questions (both open and
also focused) and not inadvertently interrupting or deflecting the
interviewee. Apparently simple, it rapidly becomes clear that such a craft
requires repeated and carefully-monitored practice to be successfully
achieved. Repeated interview practice exercises and discussion ensure such
success is achieved before the end of the 2nd day.
Monday to Wednesday
We outline the principles and you engage in the key practices of BNIM
interpretive work . We explain the importance of the twin interpretive
tracks of ‘living of the lived life’ and ‘telling of the told story’
analysis, and micro-analysis, and how you convert the raw transcript into
two series of processed data for each track. You learn the significance of
the future-blind chunk-by-chunk approach peculiar to BNIM by practice – by
doing parts of a narrative text analysis, a micro-analysis and biographical
data analysis. You see the value of bringing the separated tracks together
in an integrated ‘case account’. Finally, on the basis of
case-presentations, you practice systematic case-comparison and the
generalising and particularising modelling towards which BNIM work is
typically oriented. The course ends with our looking again at how you might
best use all or part of the BNIM approach within your individual research
projects, and, given the existence of sceptical research and applied policy
audiences, how to defend your choice to use such an in-depth biographical
research method with a necessarily low-N sample.
After the course, to help you avoid unnecessary errors, we continue to
advise on your eventual design of the open-narrative question (the SQUIN)
for your practice and first pilot interviews, and then – if you wish --
give feedback on your first transcript and then on its initial
data-processing for subsequent interpretation.
The tuition fees for the 5-day intensive training are earlybird £825 (or
£925 afterwards) for the October 2012 course including the important
post-course ‘support’ mentioned above.
To discuss applying or to apply for a place, please contact
<mailto:[log in to unmask]> [log in to unmask] Places are secured by a £300
deposit, refundable given sufficient notice.
For a free copy of the most recently updated version of the BNIM Short Guide
and Detailed Manual, or
all other inquiries about BNIM, please don’t hesitate to contact
<mailto:[log in to unmask]> [log in to unmask]
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