open access publication

Article, 2023

Writing with New Journalism and Portraiture: The Making of a Portrait

Qualitative Studies, ISSN 1903-7031, Volume 8, 1, Pages 87-109, 10.7146/qs.v8i1.136783


Høyen, Marianne 0000-0001-5042-6024 [1]


  1. [1] Aarhus University
  2. [NORA names: AU Aarhus University; University; Denmark; Europe, EU; Nordic; OECD]


To explain broader social phenomena through human perspectives, sociologists closely analyse their qualitative data. As individuals’ actions and embeddedness into society may be subject to inquiry, biographical and narrative approaches can enable access to the other’s world, its social and material contexts. Yet sensitivity is seldom evident when communicating research findings. Traditionally researchers address a uniform, neutral academic readership, one at odds with current reality. Just as the researcher seeks to understand the interviewee, similar effort is needed to accommodate the reader. Good communication needs to consider complexity and address the human experience through multi-faceted but meaningful lenses. It requires creative thinking. I suggest that New Journalism and Portraiture, in combination, provide a good starting point for communicating the human experience and its surrounding conditions: New Journalism as it introduces devices from fiction into the field; Portraiture because it encourages the writer to bring creative aspects into the text. The article explores the considerations around writing up such a text from biographical research and demonstrates how this can be done.


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