Is PNI a scientifically valid approach?

As a form of action research, PNI does not seek or claim to be scientifically valid. As PNI practitioners, we are more interested in the question of whether PNI is useful. Does it help communities and organizations get to the places they want to go? Does PNI help people get along better, see the world through each others’ eyes, discover new insights they can use? As a whole the approach has that potential, but whether each individual PNI project fulfills the promise of PNI depends on the way the project is carried out.

Where did PNI come from?

Participatory narrative inquiry has grown and matured through twenty years of research, development, and practice by Cynthia Kurtz and lots of collaborators. You can read the full history of Cynthia’s work on PNI in the “Acknowledgements and Biography” section of her book Working with Stories, which you can find on the book’s web site. This page describes Cynthia’s history building software to support PNI.

Why did you write NarraFirma?

I wrote NarraFirma because readers of Working with Stories kept asking me how they could get started doing projects in participatory narrative inquiry. People seemed to need a bridge between reading about doing PNI projects and actually doing them. My first plan was to write a “workbook” or “field notebook” for PNI projects that people could use to check their progress and record their thoughts. However, I soon realized that (a) everybody writes things on computers now and (b) people work best in groups. So my husband and I decided to build software that would combine guidance, record-keeping, teamwork, and data visualization to support PNI projects.

Who is NarraFirma for?

NarraFirma is support software for participatory narrative inquiry (PNI). Its primary user is meant to be a person or group who is conducting PNI projects.