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The self is both the story teller and the stories that are told: A case study using interpretative phenomenological analysis to explore the self through personal narratives and life story.

Richards, Alice (2015) The self is both the story teller and the stories that are told: A case study using interpretative phenomenological analysis to explore the self through personal narratives and life story. Southampton Solent University. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

The rationale for this study is to extend existing knowledge regarding the self, personal narratives and life story by gaining in depth insight into an individual’s personal experiences. The research questions regarding the current study were twofold: the first of which identified and explored what themes emerged from a single participant’s personal narratives and life story. The second established which of the six personal narrative and life story principles, advocated by McAdams (2008), were relevant to the case study being reported. This study reports data from a case study collected through a semi structured interview and was analysed using interpretative phenomenological analysis. The participant was a female mature student from Southampton Solent University. Two superordinate themes were identified within the data, ‘focus on the self’ and ‘focus on external factors’. A description of these superordinate themes and the related subordinate themes is presented. Additionally, similarities and dissimilarities were established regarding McAdams (2008) personal narrative and life story principles. The findings are considered in relation to relevant literature of the self, personal narratives and life story. Results indicated the importance of researching personal narratives and life stories and the researcher proposes further clarification is needed regarding McAdams (2008) six personal narrative and life story principles.

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