Past Event details

Why narrative research matters for shaping practice and policy

Friday, 22 September 2017

This is a co-hosted OFFA and SRHE Seminar. Research is essential for shaping and sustaining effective policy and practice. Research helps us all understand more deeply why it is we do things and how we could do them differently. However, research covers a broad range of different approaches, methodologies and perspectives that occupy different positions in the collective imagination.

In this seminar we will explore why one approach to widening participation research might be useful for those interested in shaping policy and practice.

Narrative research “brings theoretical ideas about the nature of human life as lived to bear on educational experience as lived” (Connelly and Clandinin, 1990). For those who care about in widening participation, then, narrative research can provide a powerful tool to help us understand the lives of those we are working with and place their lived experiences at the heart of the way we think about and do our work.

However, using narrative can be difficult. It presents ethical, methodological and time and resource challenges that means it may not always be seen as an easily accessible approach for many in the field. Further, by its person-centred nature, narrative research risks being seen as not delivering scalable findings that can be so important to the implementation of policy.

In this seminar we want to challenge some of the assumptions about the use and validity of narrative research for shaping policy and practice and instead suggest that narrative offers a powerful way to (re)imagine the work that we all do.

Through a series of research stories and collective discussion, we will spend a day understanding more about what narrative research is, how it can benefit your practice and help influence policy.

Key note speakers:
Professor Anne-Marie Bathmaker, Professor of Vocational and Higher Education, University of Birmingham
Dr Sheila Trahar, Reader in Education, University of Bristol

Other speakers:

Dr Constantino Dumangane, Research Associate, Cardiff University
Lindsey Fraser, Deputy Director, Lifelong Learning Centre, University of Leeds
Angela Murphy, Senior Lecturer, Leeds Beckett University
Richard Shiner, Head of Evidence and Effective Practice
Professor Jacqueline Stevenson, Sheffield Hallam University, co-convenor SRHE Access and Widening Participation Network

To download a podcast of any of the presentations included in this seminar please vist

Network: Access and Widening Participation
Date(s): Friday, 22 September 2017
Times: 10:30 - 16:00
Location: SRHE, 73 Collier St, London N1 9BE
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