THE LIFE HISTORY APPROACH: FIELDWORK EXPERIENCE (Pendekatan sejarah hidup: Pengalaman di lapangan)

Noor Rahamah Hj. Abu Bakar, Mohd. Yusof Hj. Abdullah


Life history approach in qualitative research emphasises on the importance of presenting the
individual‟s subjective evaluation of his experiences and of giving information about his social
experiences. It is the account of a life, completed or ongoing. This approach combines both written
and oral evidence. The information gathered offer basic evidence about social interaction and process.
There are many problems involved in the use of life history approach such as reliability, validity and
interpretation of information. However, it has certain advantages for studies of social change, as
documentation on roles, demonstration of socialisation, and as a mean towards understanding
variation within a society. At one time special attention was given to the use of life history approach
but not much recording and analysis had been done. Perhaps because researchers have not been very
clear about what to do with a life history narrative. The researchers‟ effect upon the research process
and the analysis seems to be a concern in contemporary qualitative research. The same is also true
about the individuals, their attitudes and understanding about the subject matter. This article attempts
to highlight these key issues. The focus of discussion are on the attitudes of the researchers and
his/her roles as a communicator in conducting research. Therefore, the objective of this paper is to
discuss the conceptual aspect of life history approach and to identify the strategies used by researchers
to effectively communicate with the individual in the process of collecting information.

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