The richness of narrative analysis resides in its unruly openness, but points of reference are needed to tame the variety in the field. This article suggests that researchers should grapple with two fundamental questions when conducting narrative analysis. The first pertains to the status attributed to narrative: it is defined as the very fabric of human existence or as one representational device among others? Emphasizing one answer over the other means mobilizing different theories of representation and therefore, suggesting different articulations between "narrative" and "reality." The second question refers to the perspective developed on narrative: Is it defined mostly as the characteristic of an approach, an object of investigation or both? Different methodological implications are associated with that choice. The article claims that dominant trends in narrative analysis originate in the way researchers answer those two questions.


Qualitative Methods, Narrative Analysis, Narrative Research, Approaches


We would like to thank Mimi Ajzenstadt, Maritza Felices-Luna, Chris Bruckert, Martin Dufresne and Marie Robert for their input on earlier versions of this text.

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