The method of empathy-based stories

Anna Wallin, Mirka Koro-Ljungberg, Jari Eskola

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


This paper focuses on the processes of the method of empathy-based stories (MEBS) and illustrates the ways in which MEBS facilitates storytelling and narration. In MEBS, the participants narrate stories based on the frames and prompts provided by the researcher, and two different versions of the frame story offer variations in the story elements. This variation enables the researcher to study how the stories change when one element is varied–an idea that imitates traditional experimental research. MEBS is well-suited for examining the informants’ perceptions, reasoning, expectations, and values regarding a specific phenomenon or experience. Additionally, MEBS enables researchers to map out a research area, because the stories might provide new and unexpected insights into the topic. In this paper, we present the history of MEBS, outline how to design and implement MEBS research, discuss the advantages and limitations of the method, and conclude by exploring some methodological possibilities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)525-535
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Research and Method in Education
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 20 2019


  • MEBS
  • data collection method
  • frame story
  • future research
  • narratives
  • storytelling
  • variation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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