Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images

In order to obtain a detailed, personalized answer to a question, a survey or essay may request a narrative response. How long or detailed that response should be is usually left up to the responder.

Narrative

A narrative, whether it's an answer or an essay, is a story written from a distinct point of view. This point of view is usually the author's.

Response

A response is usually an answer to a specific question or series of questions. A response paper or response essay, however, can be written to counter another paper or essay.

Narrative Response

If you combine these two terms (narrative and response), it can easily be understood that a narrative response is an answer to a question or a series of questions that is written in the form of a story from a specific point of view.

Purpose

A narrative response is meant to give the author the opportunity to relate their own experience to the question being asked. A narrative response also gives more information about the person writing it than just a fill-in-the-blank-response might.

Person

Narrative responses can be written in either the first or third person. First person is easier, and the third person "this author" can seem dated.