Reflecting on the Tensions Between Emic and Etic Perspectives in Life History Research: Lessons Learned

James L. Olive


I utilized a life history methodology in this study through which written and oral narratives were obtained from six postsecondary students who self-identified as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and/or Queer (LGBQ). Through this narrative process, I endeavored to understand how past events and behaviors shaped the participants' identities and their sense of resiliency. During the data analysis process, I experienced tension between etic and emic categories and themes. Consequently, I struggled to maintain an inductive position throughout the coding process. This article provides an overview of this process and seeks to add to the discussion regarding etic and emic perspectives in qualitative research.



bisexual; etic; emic; gay; lesbian; life history

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Copyright (c) 2014 James L. Olive

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