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Narratives: Overall

  • By: Barbara F. Sharf
  • In: Encyclopedia of Health Communication
  • Edited by: Teresa L. Thompson
  • Subject:Public Health Education & Health Promotion, Health Psychology, Health Communication

While some scholars have strived to distinguish between the terminology of “narrative” and “story,” in health communication research these words generally have been used interchangeably. Frequently an unspoken complication in working with narrative is that the word itself has been employed to mean many things: a way of knowing and comprehending experience; a means of expressing experience that results in textual materials to be studied; expression in a particular structural form understood as a single experiential episode; alternatively, a set of interwoven episodes that compose a longer saga, typically spanning different experiential phases; and a means of communicating research findings.

Despite the complexity in defining narrative, there seems to be a good deal of consensus about what the elements are that comprise narrative, though not all ...

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