The aim of this chapter is to revisit deeper concerns introduced in Chapters 5 and 6 and to consider how our theoretical frameworks came to impact upon the stories that we have written. Broadly speaking, this involves each of the four authors considering how their particular take on knowledge – their epistemological view – has influenced their writing of their narrative. We aim to unearth the often buried assumptions of life story researchers: to lay them bare on the grounds of method/ology and to consider how epistemology shapes method/ological terrains. Bannister et al. (1993) argue that qualitative research is part of an ongoing debate. Crucial to this debate is the role of epistemology in relation to the doing of qualitative research. Each of the authors of the life stories presented in Part 1 of this book came to their storytelling with particular epistemological baggage. Epistemology can be viewed as the grounds or structures on which we build up theories. In its crudest sense, epistemology is a philosophical orientation – which directs us to see the world in particular ways, and then make sense of what we see through the use of related theories. Following Goodley et al. (2002) and Clough and Nutbrown (2002), life story research is often viewed as having the following epistemological orgins:

• idiographic not nomothetic – interested in the private, individual and subjective nature of life rather than the public, general, objective;

• hermeneutic not positivist – preoccupied with capturing the meanings of a culture/person rather than measuring the observable aspects of a culture/person;

• qualitative not quantitative – focused on the wordy nature of the world rather than its numerical representation;

• specificity not generalisation – amenable to the specific description and explanation of a few people rather than the representative generalities of a wider population;

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• authenticity not validity story and its narrator rather than devising measures that measure what they purport to measure;

• language as creative not descriptive – recognises the constructive effects of language rather than language as a transparent medium for describing the world.