Narrative-biographical research has aroused great interest in recent decades. Personal reports and life experiences are used for data collection, which has given it great importance due to its character qualitative.

In this sense, at the beginning of the 20th century, this type of study took a boom. Life Stories were used during those early times of the century by Social Researchers. They tried to understand the subjects that were part of the mass migration that occurred from Europe to North America.

During these mobilizations, these numerous communities, needed adapting to new living conditions. The ethical, moral and religious values ​​of this new nation were different from those of their countries of origin. This caused tensions in some members of The American population.

When did the Narrative-Biographical method originate?

The appearance of the Narrative-Biographical Method in the Social Sciences dates back to the year 1920. In this time, the last volume and third volume of the book was published Thomas's Polish Peasant in Europe and America and  Znaniecki. From that moment the expression began to be used life history.

This statement was used to refer to the descriptions obtained from successive interviews of the vital narrative that a person possesses, based on the set of documentary records and interviews with subjects who are in the same social environment of the person interviewed. These allow to complete and validate the biographical story.

So, the Biographical Method has been very useful in researching some disciplines of knowledge such as Sociology, Anthropology, Social Psychology, and Pedagogy, as well as in others in which the human being recovers his protagonism against the dehumanization that so much has characterized the positivist scientism.

In such a way, both biographies and life stories, serve to deepen and delve regarding our knowledge and the phenomena of breaking ideological and cultural codes. They have a particular interest in the way in which the processes of individual, collective and group memory are carried out.

What is a life story?

Narrative-Biographical Research?

A life story allows designating as many stories that constitute the entire life of a human being. Those partial narratives that correspond to certain moments or biographical epochs.

This term does not only refer to the story itself, but also to all the information that has been collected about life. This is object of study, for which the preceding information of school stages, health sources, among others, as well as the analyzes performed by the researcher (s), are taken into consideration.


Types of life stories

Complete life stories

These cover the extension of a person's entire life or career.

Thematic life stories

They are those in which many of the features of a complete history of the life of a subject are shared, but delimiting research to a specific topic, issue or period.

Life stories edited

They can be thematic or complete, but in these, the comments and explanations made by another person that is not the main subject in which the research is focused are interspersed.

Characteristics of life stories

  • Detailed and comprehensive narratives about the life of a character are obtained.
  • The narration can be done both by the character himself who will be approached and by other subjects who knew him.
  • You can focus on the whole life of a subject. For example, the story of a highly valued teacher in a community, the Life Story of an architect who is famous, among others.

Also, these stories can focus on specific moments in the life of a subject. This is the case of Juan Rulfo's Life Story during the period in which he wrote his novel Pedro Paramo or a Life Story in which they are narrated the first 10 years of an important character.

What is Biogram?

The Biograms are Life Stories told by subjects who belong to the same social group. They are based on compliance with specific guidelines regarding the content and form, and whose purpose is to obtain mass data that is constructed from biographical records.

The biographical records of these life stories are based on factors extracted from a sample of large personal biographies. It has been used to compare these aspects of life in a society of the investigated subjects.

Characteristics of Narrative-Biographical Research


Narrative Biographical Research

They allow knowing the life experiences of people

From the description of some aspects such as living conditions and moral, religious or ethical values, the life experiences of people can be told.




The fundamental data collection technique is the interview

Through interviews with the investigated subjects, which are complemented by documentary records, as well as interviews with other subjects that are close to the person being studied, biographical reports can be completed and validated.

Collective, individual and group memory records are collected

Through this series of records, the processes of both collective and individual or group memory can be described to reveal the variety of forms of knowledge and social communication that exist.

Allow describing how people acquire knowledge

Life stories have been used in Education and other disciplines of knowledge that have a particular interest in the process of acquiring knowledge. This is because these stories allow telling how the knowledge of people is organized and in what way can change through the experiences they live.

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