The Method of Empathy-Based Stories as a Tool for Research and Teaching

Elina Särkelä, Juha Suoranta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


In this article we describe a qualitative research method, the “Method of Empathy-Based Stories” (MEBS) and ponder its value in classroom teaching. Our research question is as follows: What is MEBS and what are its possible uses in research and teaching? We gathered empathy-based stories written by students (N = 15) and analysed them with thematic analysis. The dominating themes in writings were the threat of climate change and various coping strategies. MEBS allowed students to describe their ways of thinking and acting, and to take part in the discussion. In general, the use of MEBS can generate hypotheses and interpretive horizons and stir questions yet to be asked. The main purpose of using MEBS in qualitative research and in teaching is to inspire qualitative researchers’ and research participants’ interpretive imagination.
Original languageEnglish
JournalThe Qualitative Report
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)399-415
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2020
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • 516 Educational sciences
  • MEBS
  • Method of Empathy-Based Stories
  • Non-Active Role Playing
  • qualitative research methods
  • teaching

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