Content analysis in scientific narrative
psychology (NARRCAT)
János László
Institute of Psychology of the HAS and University
of Pécs
Narrative
• Narrative text: temporally and causally
organized sequence of propositions
• Narrative thinking: innate capacity to establish
rational, causal order of events
Narrative and identity
• Non-essentialist concept of self: narrative identity
• Self as life story (Erikson, 1959; MacAdams, 1985;
Ricoueur, 1991)
• Psychological concepts: identity crisis, identity
closure, identity trauma
• Psychological dimensions of identity in life
narratives: complexity, maturity, integrity
Group narratives
• Collective representations of group events (group
history)
• Similarities and differences with individual life story
– Standard life course vs beginning and termination is
open ended
– Developmental tasks are well defined vs development
depends on actual needs for persisting and growth.
• Although individual life stories are also preformed
by social and cultural standards, they are
subjectively accessible. Whereas group histories
only exist in written or oral discourse
How to squize out identity related
content from life stories and from
group histories?
• Content analysis
– Qualitative
– Quantitative
• Hermeneutic, qualitative analysis of narratives
– Interpretation of themes of life narrative against the
sociocultural knowledge horizon in psychological terms
– No empirical test of validity
Aid of computer technology to
qualitative analysis
• Correlational techniques in content analysis (Weber,
1983; Hogenraad, MacKenzieand Péladeau, 2003)
– Emprically aided hermeneutics
– Co-occurence of words in the text shed light to hidden
themes
Computerized quantitative content
analysis
• (Psychological) categories
dictionaries
– Testing any kind of plausible hypotheses
• Problem of dictionaries: disambiguation,
lemmatization (particularly in agglutinative
languages)
• Introduction of grammatical categories and function
words into dictionaries
– E.g. tens or self reference with postfixes
• Full morphological analysis is needed
• Morphological analysis enables grammatical analysis
• NooJ enables both
Role of grammar
• Grammar enables complex psychological
categories reflected in modalities such as
intentionality
• I like to teach versus I would like to teach
• Intentionality + activity (dictionary of active vs
passive verbs) = AGENCY
• Agency is a narrative category
Narrative categories
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•
•
•
•
•
•
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AGENCY
SPATIAL TEMPORAL PERSPECTIVE
PSYCHOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVE
TEMPORAL ORGANIZATION
EVALUATION
CHARACTERS AND THEIR FUNCTIONS
EMOTIONAL ORGANIZATION
SPATIAL-EMOTIONAL DISTANCE REGULATION
Further categories
• Negation
• Self-reference
• Us-reference
– In self-narratives and group narratives can be
interpreted as narrative categories
Narrative structure-narrative
composition
• Agency
– Who is agent and who is passive?
– When is a group active and when is it passive?
• Evaluation
– Ingroup-outgroup evaluation
• Emotions
– Type of emotios that the ingroup and outgroups feel
• Etc
• Traditional social psychological issues of group
identity and intergroup relations studied by CA
Two major features of narrative
categorial content analysis (NARRCAT)
1. It is directed to the meaning construction by
narrative composition in life narratives and
group narratives
2. It transforms narrative composition into
narrative categories and makes it amenable
to categorial i.e. nomothetic content analysis
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Content analysis in scientific narrative psychology