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Presenting Life Histories: a literature review and annotated bibliography

Annica Ojermark


This select annotated bibliography reviews a range of approaches to the analysis and presentation of life history research. The aim is to introduce readers to the life history method, as well as similar and interrelated approaches, and to identify strategies and tools that are available to researchers that employ this unique qualitative methodology. Section One introduces the life history method, discussing its origins and the reasons for its rise in popularity in the past decades. The section also clarifies the terms used to define and describe the method, and outlines the methodological and theoretical choices that confront researchers wishing to employ life histories. Section Two lists and briefly describes books, journal articles and online resources that should be of general interest to researchers using life history methods. This section includes articles that put forward a critique of this qualitative method and flag up some of the many ethical issues that researchers are bound to face in the collection, interpretation and presentation of life histories. Section Three forms the bulk of the annotated bibliography. Grouped according to the method used, it identifies the various ways that life histories are analysed and presented, providing examples from constructionist, realist, action research and testimonial approaches. A ‘Matrix of Presentation Styles’ ties together the annotate bibliography to demonstrate a menu of options available to researchers. The bibliography ends with a recapitulation of what has been presented and discusses the future of the life history method in social science research.

Publication Type(s)

CPRC Working Paper

Annotated Bibliography


annotated bibliography methodology life history

ISBN: 978-1-906433-00-0


Annotated bibliography No.6 PDF 492.9 KB

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