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The Narrative Approach in Higher Education Research

Theory and Method in Higher Education Research

ISBN: 978-1-78560-287-0, eISBN: 978-1-78560-286-3

Publication date: 29 September 2015


This chapter offers to higher education research a theoretical and methodological proposal based on narrativity, pointing to the articulation between metanarratives, public, conceptual and individual narratives. Stemming from social constructionism, it draws on concepts such as floating signifiers and nodal points, borrowed from discourse analysis, to explore the conflict and struggle between discourses. The examples provided focus on how individual narratives enact discourses on higher education institutional governance, as expressed in public narratives, and on how narratives influence the perceptions of institutional actors. Our goal in this chapter is, on the one hand, to propose an operationalization of discourse analysis, and, on the other hand, to signal the contribution of the narrative approach in revealing research findings based on the process of meaning construction.



The present chapter was financed by FEDER funds through the Operational Competitiveness Programme – COMPETE and by national funds through FCT – Foundation for Science and Technology, under the project FCOMP-01-0124-FEDER-027445.


Magalhães, A. and Veiga, A. (2015), "The Narrative Approach in Higher Education Research", Theory and Method in Higher Education Research (Theory and Method in Higher Education Research, Vol. 1), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 311-331.



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