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"Tell me your story": Using narratives from interviews to understand indigenous knowledge

S Lillejord
GE Søreide


Conversation is an ancient and profoundly human way of constructing knowledge about the world in which we live. The qualitative research interview is drawing on this everyday activity, adjusting it to fit a research objective. In anthropology and sociology the qualitative research interview has, for several decades, been used as a means of obtaining in-depth knowledge about people’s life-world. Not only has more light been shed on how people interpret and explain their personal experiences, we also have learned more about qualitative approaches and how qualitative data could be interpreted and presented for a community of researchers. In this article, we show how one of the characteristic traits of the qualitative interview, the narrative, makes it especially well suited for an inductive understanding of cultures and in the pursuit of indigenous knowledge. The intention behind this approach is to bring us beyond generalisations and question stereotypes in the discourse about native and indigenous peoples.