Integrating Science and the Humanities? A Comparison of Quantitative Versus Qualitative Narrative Analysis Through a Study of Bilingual Autobiographies Open Access

Ong, Shu Wen (2013)

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In light of the increasing integration of cognitive science with literary criticism in recent years, this study compares quantitative and qualitative narrative analysis methodologies to explore the extent to which psychology, as a scientific enterprise, can and should interface with literature. This study compared bilingual and monolingual autobiographies for themes related to linguistic status, and identity fragmentation or ambiguity, using Ulric Neisser's Theory of Five Selves (1988) as a theoretical framework. The researcher applied judge-based thematic analysis and word-count analysis, as well as qualitative analysis to examine the relationship between linguistic background and individuals' experiences of inner division and conflict. The findings from the quantitative methodologies suggested no significant relationship between linguistic status and experiences of identity fragmentation; high variability on all dependent variables was found across different texts as well as across judges' ratings. On the other hand, the qualitative approach to the same texts yielded richer information about the existence and nature of doubleness or confusion in individual self-concepts - linguistic background is far from the only reason for such an experience. The differences in knowledge derived from qualitative versus quantitative methodologies suggest that current quantitative models may not be adequate as standalone approaches to narrative analysis yet. Ultimately, more caution has to be applied when considering the interface between science and literature.

Keywords: science, literature, narrative analysis, autobiography, bilingualism

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Abstract 2 Introduction 3 Method 18 Results (Quantitative) 24 Qualitative Analysis 30 Discussion 40 References 49 Tables and Figures 55 Appendix 67

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