Friday, September 17, 2010

Book Review: Analyzing Narrative Reality

Jaber Gubrium and James Holstein. Analyzing Narrative Reality. Thousand Oaks, California: SAGE Publications, Inc., 2009. 272 pp. $38.95

Analyzing Narrative Reality, by Jaber Gubrium and James Holstein, is a fascinating extension of narrative ethnography which is a type of qualitative research method. Gubrium and Holstein provide extensive examples identifying how narratives are created in concert with their environments. They emphasize how the creation of narrative – agency, tension, resolution, grammar – is fostered in narrative environments, and that the production of a story relies heavily on the environment in which the story is told. One unique contribution of this research book is its emphasis that stories do not need to have specific components or to make a specific point. Instead, stories should be evaluated on their goodness of fit – how the narrative is constructed in its storytelling environment.

This work is especially helpful in researching psychotherapy processes. That is, Analyzing Narrative Reality provides many helpful hints and suggestions for one to use in analyzing psychotherapy transcripts. Researchers are encouraged to pay close attention to the context of the story as well as to what is being said. I would highly recommend this very accessible work to anyone interested in conducting qualitative research as the authors not only provide clear guidelines; they also provide extensive examples of researchers using their methods.

Review by Thomas V. Frederick, Ph.D., LMFT.

Dr. Thomas V. Frederick is Associate Professor of Psychology & Counseling in the Department of Marriage and Family Therapy. He has been with HIU since 2005 teaching in the MFT program. His academic interests include psychotherapy process research, the integration of psychology and theology, and Solution Focused Therapy.

The views in this book review are not necessarily the views of Hope International University.

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