The narrated, nonnarrated, and the disnarrated: conceptual tools for analyzing narratives in health services research

Qual Health Res. 2014 Nov;24(11):1603-11. doi: 10.1177/1049732314549019. Epub 2014 Sep 5.


While analyzing the narratives of children receiving pediatric oncology treatment and their parents, we encountered three ways to look at their narratives: what was narrated, nonnarrated, and disnarrated. The narrated refers to the actors (characters) and events (scenes) individuals decided to include in the narration of their experiences, the nonnarrated are everything not included in narration, and the disnarrated are elements that are narrated in the story but did not actually take place. We use our reflection to illustrate how an integrative analysis of these different forms of narration can allow us to produce a holistic interpretation of people's experiences of illness. This approach is still in the early stages of development, but we hope this article can promote a debate in the field and lead to the refinement of an important tool for narrative analysis.

Keywords: cancer; children; health care; narrative inquiry; qualitative analysis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Health Services Research* / methods
  • Health Services Research* / standards
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Medical Oncology
  • Narration*
  • Parents / psychology
  • Qualitative Research