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Conducting Life History Research

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Angela MazzettiORCiD


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In this case study, I reflect on my experience of adopting life history interviews as part of a wider ethnographic study undertaken in the transitional setting of post-conflict Northern Ireland. I set out why a life history approach is ideally suited to studies that aim to contextualise individual perceptions of the past within wider cultural, social and political discourses. I explore some of the methodological challenges on conducting life history interviews and present the rationale for complementing individual participant life history interviews with additional techniques to enhance data triangulation. Furthermore, I debate the impact of researcher positionality on the research process, specifically when the researcher is investigating a topic or context which has personal significance. I posit that the methodological insights discussed in this case study are pertinent to postgraduate researchers considering undertaking life history research.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Mazzetti AS

Publication type: Online Publication

Publication status: Published

Series Title: SAGE Research Methods Cases

Year: 2024

Access Year: 2024

Acceptance date: 21/08/2023

ISBN: 9781529684100

Publisher: Sage Publications Ltd.

Place Published: London

Access Date: 6 March


DOI: 10.4135/9781529684100