Evaluation of narrative interview as an assessment method

Chheda, Bijal Mavji Bharti

December 2004

Thesis or dissertation

© 2004 Bijal Mavji Bharti Chheda. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.

This thesis examines the role of the narrative interview as an assessment method. The main aim of the study was to ascertain the value of subjective and holistic methods of assessment in facilitating and enabling psychological processes. Traditional psychometric techniques of assessment are compared with narrative interviews, based on Bartram's (1990) 'Factors to consider when choosing an assessment method'.

Data collection was in two phases. During phase one, 40 participants were administered traditional assessment tasks: Differential Aptitude Tests, Career Interest Inventory and structured guidance interviews. This enabled an evaluation of traditional assessment techniques to allow a comparison of the open-ended narrative interview. For phase two 10 participants from phase one and 30 new participants were administered the narrative interview in order to ascertain its value. Assessment profiles which were formulated, feedback questionnaire results and focus group feedback results portrayed particular strengths of the narrative interview. The narrative interview is seen to provide rich, holistic and deep assessments. It also instilled motivation and encouraged participants thereby facilitating the overall psychological process. The narrative interview thus fulfils aspects of assessment, which traditional assessment techniques fail to provide.

The phenomenological and subjective nature of narrative interview aids reconceptualisation of the term 'assessment' from classification and categorization to understanding and exploration.

Department of Psychology, The University of Hull
Williams, D. I. (David Islwyn); Coyne, Iain
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