The aim of this thesis is to further develop a narrative psychological research methodology that is specifically suited for the study of healthy living. The title The development of narrative competence has a twofold meaning which mirrors the methodological and the substantive orientation of the study. First, narrative competence refers to the competence of a researcher to do narrative research. Second, this competence refers to the ability of people to understand and constitute themselves and the world – and importantly their healthy lives – through storytelling. The development of narrative psychology as a research methodology is presented in ten chapters distributed among four parts: 1) preparing, 2) exploring, 3) shaping and 4) harvesting. The last part Harvesting consists of one concluding chapter in which I evaluate the developmental process in this thesis. First, I describe what each part of the thesis has brought forth. I reflect on the original aims of narrative psychology, and on how my research relates to and contributes to these aims. I also reflect on how the methodology developed in this study fits in with recent developments in narrative research in the human sciences, and in a narrative approach to health promotion in the Netherlands. Furthermore, I reflect on the implications of a shift in research to a more active involvement from the researcher as interviewer, analyst and author in the construction of healthy living practices. Finally, I suggest directions for the further development and use of both small and large variants of analysis to enhance the practical value of the research methodology that is the focus of this thesis. Then, I reflect on how the methodological quality criteria (see chapter three) played a role in the specific demonstrations of research methodology in my study, and could play in further methodology development. I conclude with an open invitation to critically refine the developed dialogical narrative psychological methodology in future cooperation between (health) practitioners and researchers.
|12 May 2010
|Published - 12 May 2010