Developing and Using Narratives in Community-Based Research

  • Madison Miller
  • Jeffrey C. Bridger


Within this chapter, we explore several foundational ideas about using narrative to understand experiences, ourselves and communities, and how to apply these ideas to researching community issues and collective invasive animals management in particular. We learn that:
  • Stories help us make sense of the world and our place in it.

  • Narratives are relational acts, as narrators place themselves and issues within time and space, within relationships to others, and within larger cultural and institutional narratives.

  • Stories have power in our minds and communities, as they impact which actions and outcomes we see as possible and as they allow opportunities for people to come together to coordinate thoughts and actions.

  • Narratives can create frames through which people view an issue; and frames can influence the narratives people create about an issue.

  • Narrative inquiry is an effective research method for interpreting social experiences. Narratives can provide insights to deepen understandings of complex issues in ways that positivist approaches to science cannot.

  • Narrative inquiry is used in this study to reveal tensions and complexity, to offer wisdom and to prompt reflection about approaching community pest management problems. Stories offer ways to focus on approaches rather than pre-prescribed, universal solutions since working with people is fundamentally relational and context-specific.

  • Pest management requires collective action, and narratives offer ways for communities to reach shared visions and shared action commitments.

  • The narratives in this book are windows into practitioners and communities’ experiences that can prompt reflection and offer practical insight useful to people working in communities.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Madison Miller
    • 1
  • Jeffrey C. Bridger
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Agricultural Economics, Sociology, and EducationPenn State UniversityPennsylvaniaUSA

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