Social Work Research Techniques, Testimonies, and Analysis: A Narrative-Biographical Approach

Gabriela Rubilar


From the beginning of professional training in social work, qualitative approaches to research have been represented in the curriculum, as they are an important element of the methodological repertoire. In this article, I argue that the instruments and techniques which traditionally have been used for professional social interventions mirror a number of qualitative research perspectives. This is especially true for those types of research which prompt extensive, continuous narratives and discourses initiated by a single research question. Research that yields continuous narratives has presented an analysis of the different professional repertoires used in social interventions and emphasizes approaches and perspectives that begin with questions such as: "Why are you coming?";  "What do you need?"; or, "Just tell me." These questions provide social workers with the opportunity to immerse themselves in individuals' autobiographical tales.

In the following, I specifically analyze professional repertoires related to social assistance and interventions. This is done by interpreting the configurative elements and the interventions used by this approach. Emphasis is placed on the process dynamics between different participants simultaneously as I discuss the scope for this type of approach, which encourages a face-to-face interaction between the researcher and the individual.



narrative-biographical interviews; social work; face-to-face interactions; autobiographical account; self-reflection; research techniques; professional training


Copyright (c) 2013 Gabriela Rubilar

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