In your face. Interpreting facial expressions: A contribution to the biographic-narrative interpretive method

  • van Anne-Greet Rootselaar

Student thesis: Master's Thesis: Humanistic Studies


Researchers use storytelling to obtain a deeper understanding of social reality. In human sciences the Biographic-Narrative Interpretive Method (BNIM) is a thoroughly developedmethod for narrative interviewing and analyzing verbatim transcripts. But stories are more than only words and although the developers of the BNIM (Wengraf) recognize this, there is no framework for analyzing the visual data concurrently. This thesis aims at developing a conceptual framework for analyzing nonverbal storytelling and implementing this framework in the BNIM. In developing this framework I focused on facial expressions as specification of the broader term nonverbal behavior. The main author on facial expressions who is referred to isFrijda. Several terms of his theories have been adopted in thisthesis. An example is the term ‘expression melody’, which refers to the face disposing an articulation, an evolvement, an amplitude and a configuration. This term has been transferred to the BNIM analysis in the form of an ‘Expression Melody Micro Analysis (EMMA). This ‘new’ developed microanalysis of a biographic narrative interview is the main result of this thesis. In the sixty pages the research contains I describe how I filmed a respondent, how I applied the BNIM procedure and how I implemented literature (on facial expressions) and the empirical results of a case study in the BNIM.
Date of Award1 Jan 2010
Original languageAmerican English
SupervisorA. Sools (Supervisor) & G. J. L. M. Lensvelt-Mulders (Supervisor)

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