Narrative inquiry in applied linguistics research

Phil Benson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

21 Citations (Scopus)


The importance of narrative inquiry as an alternative approach to research in the humanities and social sciences has grown considerably over the past 20 years or so. Over the past decade, it has also become an established approach to research on second and foreign language learning and teaching through the publication of numerous data-based studies and several texts on narrative inquiry for applied linguistics. Focusing on studies published since 2008, this article outlines the scope of narrative research on language learning and teaching at the present time. It discusses recent innovations in data collection (the use of mixed and longitudinal methods and the use of narrative frames and multimodal data) and data analysis (focus on the discourse of narrative and the use of narrative writing). It concludes that these innovations represent a welcome trend toward methodological diversity that is strengthening the contribution of narrative inquiry to our understanding of the experience of language teaching and learning.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)154-170
Number of pages17
JournalAnnual Review of Applied Linguistics
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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