Analyzing and Writing Up

Personal narratives are much like clinical case studies. They can be lovely stories by themselves, but as isolated texts, they tell us little about the human condition … [We must] search for meaning, patterns, regularities, and principles hidden within the rich uniqueness of these stories.   – M. D. LeCompte

We analyze profiles to see what the people we interview can teach us about the work in their field. What lessons do they provide? What surprises, difficulties or challenges do they present? What do these practitioners face and what do we learn about what’s possible to do? What did they learn and what can we learn from that? What skills, preparation, improvisation, and judgment seem necessary to good work this field? In what ways might what we’ve heard address others’ misconceptions, myths, stereotypes or simplifications of what this work really involves? What is the role played in this work by emotion, power, virtue, judgment, listening, law, the market, participation, ethnicity … whatever underlying problems you’re interested in?

In this section, you will find tips for getting started on your own analysis, as well as examples of analytical papers written by others.