Student voices that resonate – Constructing composite narratives that represent students’ classroom experiences

Olivia Johnston, Helen Wildy, Jennifer Shand

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Words and stories have the power to resonate with people. Composite narratives can be constructed using multiple participant accounts, representing their experiences while also capturing the properties and categories of qualitative research findings. The ability of composite narratives to represent the multiple facets of theory construction through a singular narrative point-of-view is unique and provides a concise and credible method to present research findings. This paper explains how composite narratives can be constructed to present the research data that findings are built upon through an illustrative example of the process. The example of a composite narrative presented in this article is one of a larger set from a grounded theory study about a substantive group of Australian students’ experiences of their interactions in the classroom that communicate their teachers’ expectations of them. Narratives have the power to affect change in society by enhancing the transferability of research findings, presenting research findings with impact because they are engaging and memorable for readers. Qualitative researchers who are interested in composing composite narratives to reflect multiple participants’ different experiences, through interview data, will benefit from the justification and example of the technique, which provides a model for future research.

Original languageEnglish
JournalQualitative Research
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2021


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