Biographical interviews and imagined futures essay writing: Users of two methods in conversation

Graham Crow*, Molly Andrews

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article reports on a conversation between users of two research methods, biographical interviews and imagined futures essay writing. A dialogue form is used to discuss these methods and their potential to be combined. The value of comparing research methods is discussed, and then the two methods are described and points of connection and contrast are explored. Although one method emphasises looking back while the other looks forward, the two have much in common, including the exercise of imagination, and discussion of individual agency and structural constraint. Both involve the construction of narratives that help understanding of people’s lives as individual trajectories set in broader social and historical contexts. The two methods are quite different but complementary, and possibilities for their combination in one project are identified. The article ends by reflecting on the benefits and drawbacks of using dialogue to consider how research methods sit alongside each other.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)557-569
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Social Research Methodology
Issue number6
Early online date26 Apr 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • biographical interviews
  • imagined future essays
  • dialogue


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