In the third installment of the Society for Qualitative Inquiry in Psychology (SQIP) Distinguished Researcher Interview Series, James Christopher Head speaks with Ruthellen Josselson about the field of narrative inquiry. In this interview, Dr. Josselson discusses how she came to be a narrative researcher, why she is continually drawn to the study of narratives, and what narrative research adds to the psychological study of lives while addressing some core conceptual, epistemological, and methodological issues inherent in narrative inquiry. Conducted during a break in the 2019 annual SQIP conference in Boston Massachusetts, this interview reflects the society’s desire to make qualitative inquiry accessible to emerging scholars by exposing them to leaders in the field.
Ruthellen Josselson is a Professor of Psychology at the Fielding Graduate University and currently serves as the editor of Qualitative Psychology. Dr. Josselson has played an essential role in the emergence of qualitative research in psychology and she is actively engaged in developing the field for future generations. Her research, which focuses on women’s identity and human relationships, has greatly enhanced our understanding of autobiographical memory while forcing us to contend with issues of interpretive stance and interpretive authority. She is widely regarded as a leading figure in the field of narrative inquiry. In addressing issues such as composing reports, conducting interviews, and accumulating knowledge, her scholarship serves as a valuable foundation for those interested in doing narrative research. The interviewer, James Christopher Head, is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at the University of West Georgia and the Early Career Representative on the Executive Board of SQIP. As a narrative researcher and a teacher of narrative inquiry, he has been inspired and influenced by the scholarship of Dr. Josselson. In this interview, he draws from questions asked by his graduate students who read many of Josselson’s works, and in so doing, attempts to reflect the interests and concerns of emerging narrative researchers.
This interview is available as both an audio file hosted on Soundcloud and as a video, embedded below.
Interview of Ruthellen Josselson by James Christopher Head