NarraFirma

Description

NarraFirma is companion software to the textbook Working with Stories in Your Community Or Organization:
Participatory Narrative Inquiry
.

Participatory narrative inquiry 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.

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.

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. You can also install NarraFirma on your local computer and use it off-line.
    (Whichever installation method you choose, we strongly suggest that you set up SSL security on your web site before collecting
    or entering confidential or important information. Many hosting providers can help you with this task.)

  • 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.

Donations

We have spent a lot of time developing NarraFirma. We appreciate donations, and will use them to
keep working on it. You can donate
at PayPal.

Need some help?

I offer training in the use of NarraFirma and consulting for PNI projects. If you are interested,
check out my web site at cfkurtz.com, or send me a note at cfkurtz at cfkurtz dot com.

Screenshots

  • This is the main page of NarraFirma. The sections of the software (and the phases of PNI) are shown in the diagram and on the list to the right. Clicking on any of these buttons leads to that section.

  • This the main page for the NarraFirma planning section. Links to all the pages in that section are listed. You can enter reminders for any page; they show up on this page.

  • Here the NarraFirma user is describing the groups of people who will be participating in their project. Describing your groups helps you think about how you should collect stories and what you should do with them.

  • Here the NarraFirma user is doing a little sensmaking exercise based on some "project stories" they told, about what might happen when they do the project. Thinking in stories during project planning helps to make better decisions about how to carry out the project.

  • Here the NarraFirma user is deciding how they will collect stories. They are looking at recommendations the software is giving them based on the answers they gave to the questions about their participant groups (see screenshot 3).

  • Here the NarraFirma user is creating questions they will ask people about their stories.

  • Here is the NarraFirma survey form participants see when they tell their stories (or NarraFirma users see when they enter the stories they collected off-line).

  • Here the NarraFirma user is looking at stories as they come in to the collection. They are looking here only at stories told by older people who said the person in their story wanted to be heard.

  • Here the user is looking at patterns in the data (answers to questions) collected. They seee thNarraFirma at older people did not often say they felt "satisfied" about their story. They are looking at the stories to understand why.

  • Here the NarraFirma user is designing a plan for a sensemaking session, where people will work with the collected stories and patterns to make sense of the topic being explored.

  • Here the NarraFirma user is ansewring questions about the outcomes of the project for each participant group. Those outcomes will determine recommendations for interventions.

  • Here the NarraFirma user is reflecting on the entire project, to learn from it and to keep good records for the future.

Installation

To install NarraFirma:

  1. Download the NarraFirma plugin (in zip format) from WordPress.org or the NarraFirma web site.
  2. In your WordPress dashboard, click on “Plugins,” then click “Add New.”
  3. In the “Add Plugins” page, click “Upload Plugin.”
  4. Click “Browse,” then choose the zip file you downloaded.
  5. Click “Install Now.”
  6. Click “Activate.”
  7. You should see a new “NarraFirma” menu item in your dashboard menu. Click it.
  8. In the screen that appears, create a new project and add some users who can access it.

FAQ

Where can I found out more about participatory narrative inquiry?

Take a look at the book behind NarraFirma, Working with Stories in Your Community Or Organization:
Participatory Narrative Inquiry

Does NarraFirma work for other kinds of surveys and projects?

NarraFirma is meant to work mainly with participatory narrative inquiry. But if you want to collect
stories for some other reason, you could still use NarraFirma for that. It’s pretty flexible.

What about web security?

We strongly suggest that you set up any web site on which you intend to install NarraFirma
with SSL (secure sockets). Your hosting provider should be able to help you do that.

What should I do if I find a bug?

Tell us about it on the WordPress support forum or the
GitHub issues list.

Contributors & Developers

“NarraFirma” is open source software. The following people have contributed to this plugin.

Contributors

Changelog

0.9.8

  • Added clarifying headers and popup hints for all links on dashboard (project phase) pages.
  • Improved styling and clarity of catalysis report, printed story form, and story cards.
  • Added story count to Spot-check graphs screen.

0.9.7

  • Fixed bug in checkbox questions where data was not being stored correctly.
  • Improved colors, labels, spacing of graphs.
  • Added story counts to Review stories and Explore patterns screens.
  • Added “does not apply” check box (configurable) to slider questions.
  • Improved help on question types.
  • Improved look of story card display.
  • Moved annotations to top of Review stories list; colored in green so they stand out.

0.9.6

  • Sanitize SQL input in WordPress plugin.
  • Improve TypeScript typings for tsc 1.6.

0.9.5

  • Improvements for Node.js version and README/SETUP for installation.

0.9.4

  • Now uses NarraFirma namespace in WordPress plugin PHP to conform with WordPress guidelines.
  • Fixed WordPress plugin survey bug where always returning first questionnaire added in a topic instead of the last one.

0.9.3

  • Fixed problem where first two characters of display name are being truncated during CSV export of story form.
  • Added arrows to sliders in survey form to make it more useful in narrow mobile displays.
  • Added warning about story collection creation.
  • Fixed some typos.

0.9.2

  • More improvements to bundling of JavaScript for faster loading. Also improved startup feedback to show
    loading application, getting user information, or retrieving project data.

0.9.1

  • Improvements to bundling of JavaScript code for faster loading.

0.9.0

  • This is the first publicly released version of NarraFirma. For (highly detailed and entertaining)
    change logs, see the GitHub repository.