Towards a method of constructing self-efficacy narratives.

du Preez, Jan (2009) Towards a method of constructing self-efficacy narratives. In 2nd Australasian Narrative Inquiry Conference : Embracing Multiple Dimensions , 12-13 July 2009, University of New England, Armidale, N.S.W.. (Unpublished)

View at publisher


This paper outlines a method of constructing narratives about an individual’s self-efficacy. Self-efficacy is defined as “people’s judgments of their capabilities to organise and execute courses of action required to attain designated types of performances” (Bandura, 1986, p. 391), and as such represents a useful construct for thinking about personal agency. Social cognitive theory provides the theoretical framework for understanding the sources of self-efficacy, that is, the elements that contribute to a sense of self-efficacy. The narrative approach adopted offers an alternative to traditional, positivist psychology, characterised by a preoccupation with measuring psychological constructs (like self-efficacy) by means of questionnaires and scales. It is argued that these instruments yield scores which are somewhat removed from the lived experience of the person—respondent or subject—associated with the score.

The method involves a cyclical and iterative process using qualitative interviews to collect data from participants – four mature aged university students. The method builds on a three-interview procedure designed for life history research (Dolbeare & Schuman, cited in Seidman, 1998). This is achieved by introducing reflective homework tasks, as well as written data generated by research participants, as they are guided in reflecting on those experiences (including behaviours, cognitions and emotions) that constitute a sense of self-efficacy, in narrative and by narrative.

The method illustrates how narrative analysis is used “to produce stories as the outcome of the research” (Polkinghorne, 1995, p.15), with detail and depth contributing to an appreciation of the ‘lived experience’ of the participants. The method is highly collaborative, with narratives co-constructed by researcher and research participants. The research outcomes suggest an enhanced understanding of self-efficacy contributes to motivation, application of effort and persistence in overcoming difficulties. The paper concludes with an evaluation of the research process by the students who participated in the author’s doctoral study.

Impact and interest:

Citation counts are sourced monthly from Scopus and Web of Science® citation databases.

These databases contain citations from different subsets of available publications and different time periods and thus the citation count from each is usually different. Some works are not in either database and no count is displayed. Scopus includes citations from articles published in 1996 onwards, and Web of Science® generally from 1980 onwards.

Citations counts from the Google Scholar™ indexing service can be viewed at the linked Google Scholar™ search.

ID Code: 38299
Item Type: Conference Item (Presentation)
Refereed: No
Keywords: self-efficacy , co-constructed narratives, narrative analysis
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Cultural & Professional Learning
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2009 please consult the author
Deposited On: 03 Nov 2010 01:30
Last Modified: 25 Mar 2013 08:21

Export: EndNote | Dublin Core | BibTeX

Repository Staff Only: item control page