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Why this web site?

This web site is dedicated to sharing research studies that explored the life stories and reported learning experiences offered by participants in Guided Autobiography Workshops that are based on concepts and methods of shared reminiscence and life review while enhancing the learning activities which help us tell and write our life stories.

The website outlines and provides the basic research study and protocols that were used in the initial qualitative research study of participants learning experiences and their submitted learning reports – the data set for this research study and its published papers.  Additional published papers are available that make it possible for further research studies of the data set. Also available are web pages for other initiated guided autobiography activities, workshops and studies.

This Guided Autobiography Research Website is a companion and affiliate partner with The Birren Center for Autobiographical Studies (www.guidedautobiography.com). The Birren Center is dedicated to enriching the lives of adults through writing, sharing, and preserving life stories and life experiences.

What is available?

The initial published reports and research documents that provide the foundation for this web page are extracted from – Community-Based Qualitative Research Study: Adult Learning and Meaning-Making in Guided Autobiographies Development Exchange –  and are offered in this website for further explorations and in-depth research studies. The Qualitative Research Study is available for download.

Further, a Learning Survey Form is available for those offering or participating in guided autobiography workshops or courses who wish to collect information about their shared learning experiences.

Dedicated to James E. Birren

Jim Birren initiated Guided Autobiography courses in Summer Institutes at the University of Southern California in the mid-1970s, attracting many academics and professional in the emerging multi-disciplinary studies of later life transitions and transformations. Over the next three decades Jim Birren and Betty Birren offered Guided Autobiography courses in the United States, Canada, Germany, Korea, the Netherland, Japan and Singapore. These events resulted in many requests seeking information on how to create and conduct guided autobiography groups and the publication of three books:

  • Guiding Autobiography Groups for Older Adults, Exploring the Fabric of Life, 1991. James E. Birren and Donna E. Deutchman, John Hopkins University Press, Baltimore & London.
  • Where to Go from Here: Discovering Your Own Life’s Wisdom in the Second Half of Your Life, 1997. James E. Birren and Linda Feldman, Simon & Schuster, New York.
  • Telling the Stories of Life through Guided Autobiography Groups, 2001, by James E. Birren and Kathryn N. Cochran, John Hopkins University Press, Baltimore & London.