Do you want to help your community or organization do any of these things?

Stories dig deeper

Since ancient times, people have shared stories to make sense of the world. Whatever it is you need to explore, stories have the power to dig deeper and reach further.

Participation works

Participatory narrative inquiry (PNI) is a method in which ordinary people share ordinary stories in a way that helps them discover insights they can use.

Here's your toolkit

NarraFirma is a web application that supports participatory narrative inquiry. It can help you carry out your own PNI projects from start to finish.

We're here to help

Cynthia Kurtz wrote the book on PNI (Working with Stories), and she and her husband (Paul Fernhout) wrote NarraFirma. Cynthia offers support, training, and consulting.

New: PNI Practicum Courses

Online, project-based PNI practice

Why listen to stories?

(Hover your mouse over each shape to read about that aspect of stories.)

What is participatory narrative inquiry?

Participatory narrative inquiryWorking with Stories book (PNI) is an approach in which groups of people participate in gathering and working with raw stories of personal experience in order to make sense of complex patterns for better decision making. PNI focuses on the profound consideration of values, beliefs, feelings, and perspectives through the recounting and interpretation of lived experience. You can read all about PNI in the book Working with Stories in Your Community or Organization.


Commmunity market planning

The board of a community market listened to its customers to keep the market going strong.

Work-life balance
Managers discovered that their people were overworked because everybody thought everybody else should do more.
Merging cultures
A big company swallowed a little company. People in both groups shared stories to understand how their two cultures could work together.
Theft prevention
A police force overturned long-standing assumptions about when, where, and why people steal.

What is NarraFirma?

It's a checklist

NarraFirma provides practical guidance as you work, with questions for you to answer, recommendations based on the conditions you describe, activities that help you make decisions, and just-in-time advice.

It's a journal

NarraFirma helps you keep careful records about what happened in your project, and it gives you places to reflect on what happened. This reminds you to keep learning as you work, and it helps you to document your project for future reference.

It's a kiosk

NarraFirma helps you collect stories, on-line and/or off-line, based on question forms you design (with sample questions you can copy). Because story collection is integrated, there is no need to export or import data.

It's a workstation

NarraFirma helps you explore and interpret patterns in your data (stories and answers to questions about stories), creating annotated visualizations you can use to make sense of the stories you collected.

What's it like to use NarraFirma?

This video gives you an overview of what the software looks like in action, using the test project you can try on this web site.

Why choose NarraFirma?

It's portable

You can install NarraFirma anywhere, as a WordPress plugin or a Node.js web application. Web hosting is inexpensive, popular, and well supported. (Whichever online method you choose, we suggest using SSL security.) You can also install NarraFirma on your local computer and use it off-line.

It's a team player

With NarraFirma your team can work on projects together in real time without having to hand files back and forth. You can plan your project, collect stories, discover patterns, and reflect on what you've learned - together.

It's an open book

NarraFirma is open source software. So if you have a question about how something works, you can just look at the source code to find out. If you need the software to do something it can't do, you can add new functionality yourself or ask someone else to add it.

It works in the real world

One NarraFirma installation supports multiple projects, forms, data sets, and reports. Why? Because real-life story projects are rarely simple or predictable. So go ahead and make a mess. NarraFirma is ready for it.

NarraFirma is free and open source software released under the General Public license.

[ Where is NarraFirma going next? ]

How can we help you?


If you have a problem with NarraFirma, or if you have a suggestion for improvement, visit the Github issues page. (If you need help right away, you can also send an email to

[ Visit the issues page ]


The PNI Practicum is a series of online project-based courses in participatory narrative inquiry. The PNI Practicum II course (Larger-scale PNI) uses NarraFirma. So if you want to learn how to use NarraFirma with expert guidance and peer support, check out the PNI Practicum.

[ check out the PNI Practicum ]


Need some one-on-one help with a NarraFirma project? Cynthia can help you design your project, choose questions, and look for patterns in your data. Send Cynthia a note at to get started.

[ Read more at ]