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Narrative Research

for CTL1041

Sharry Taylor

on 17 June 2013

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Transcript of Narrative Research

Narrative Research
What is narrative research?
What is a narrative?
the telling and retelling of my story is affected by many factors
Why is narrative used
in educational research?
where have i been...?
where am i going...?
Interpretation of data
Criteria for good narrative research
Types & applications of narrative research
Qualitative, interpretive method of inquiry
that people ascribe to their experiences are more important than the actual events that have occurred
Narrative research attempts to make sense of peoples' lived experiences using the stories that they tell as data
It is just as useful to say "inquiry into narrative" as it is to say "narrative inquiry" because, as Connelly and Clandinin (1990) write, "narrative is both phenomenon and method" (p. 2).
Both researcher and subject are participating in a process that is inextricably intertwined
Narratives research requires attention to scene, plot/place (past, present, future), character, and context, because people and their stories cannot be disconnected from their experiences (Connelly & Clandinin, 1990).
A narrative is a story, told by a person or people, through which they ascribe meaning to their experiences
Because humans think and speak in language-based narrative, it is the basic "unit" of our experience (Connelly & Clandinin, 1990)
Even things that we don't traditionally think of as narrative are actually related in narrative ways, i.e., classroom instruction, calendar notes, emails
Narratives can be spoken, text-based (email, notes, letters, etc.), or media-based (video, pictures, etc.)
Because our experience constantly changes us, the lens through which we view our experiences also changes, so our narratives change over time
Our entire lives are comprised of various interwoven narratives, and we are both producing narrative and experiencing others' narratives throughout the entirety of our lives.
beliefs and values
past and present
Creating written narrative allows narrative to become liberated from the moment in which it was told, allowing for future interpretation and re-interpretation: "Not only do life history researchers create histories of lives, but they also reference those lives to history" (Cole & Knowles 2001, p. 80)
Intensive exploration with a small number of individuals, rather than a more superficial engagement with larger numbers of people
time and place
Particularly since many educational researchers are also educators themselves, narrative research in education provides a space for teacher researchers to engage theoretically and politically in contexts where they may not have previously
Particularly powerful because it provokes contestation over rules- it moves beyond critical categories and enables one to critically think about that which is born of experience
Storytelling as a methodology is a place to begin inquiry, not a place to settle meanings (Gallagher, 2010 p. 59)
Because educators teach through narrative, narrative methodologies in educational research is more natural and accurate than positivist-oriented methods
Understanding the culture of education is best understood by listening to the stories of teachers, rather than trying to quantify isolated parts
"The principles of reflexivity, relationality, mutuality, care, sensitivity, and respect guide the development of questions for conversation just as they guide all other aspects of life inquiry" (Cole & Knowles 2001, p. 73)
Theoretical and political framework can be used to interpret classroom and/or teacher narratives and therefore give new perspectives and insights
...insights can inform practice, thereby creating new narratives...
Conducted in the field; natural settings
Entering into narrative inquiry is often negotiated between researcher and participant
Effective narrative inquiry requires collaboration, a sense of safety, and connectedness between researcher and participant(Connelly & Clandinin, 1990)
Narrative inquiry methodologies may include: field notes, participant journals, interviews, observations, secondary live sources, guided conversations, surveys, storytelling, letter writing, autobiographical/ biographical writing, and analysis of plans, artifacts, pictures, videos, correspondence and/or newsletters
Researchers be mindful: different settings prompt different memories or evoke different responses to questions
Even in the data collection phase, information is analyzed and unconsciously vetted and shaped by the researcher; comments researchers make, the responses they give, and questions they ask all affect the narratives that are related
Narratives are processes as well as products: we use narrative to gather information but then our writing of narrative becomes the object of further analysis and reflection by others who read our narratives
As narrative researchers, we have to be aware that the very act of telling a story changes it in future: "we restory earlier experiences as we reflect upon later experiences" (Connelly & Clandinin, 1990, p. 9)
There are "multiple I's" in narrative research: subject, participant, listener, researcher, professional, all of whom are reflected in narrative work: be aware of which "I" you are when you are writing!
Because narrative inquiry is evolving by nature and design, the original object of inquiry may shift and change over time; data collected for one purpose may eventually be used for another
Because narrative work is storytelling, narrative researchers need to be careful to use data to tell the story they want to tell, to tie up loose ends, or to give a happy, well-rounded ending. Spence (as cited in Connelly & Clandinin, 1990) calls this "narrative smoothing"
Truths emerge from narrative research when the reader experiences it as plausible or it "rings true"
When analyzing narrative data, researchers may question contradictions between stories, revisit research purposes, revisit subjects, organize materials, analyze processes and issues, explore preliminary understandings, imagine possibilities for representational forms, identify audiences
De-emphasis on positivist criteria like validity and reliability
Pays respect to the human ability to make sense of narrative; thus apparency, verisimilitude, transferability are more valuable criteria
Narrative explanation "derives from the whole" (Connelly & Clandinin, 1990), and implying causality should be avoided
Good narrative research work should invite a reader to make their own sense of what is being read; to read the narrative and relate to it in some way
Seek depth and not breadth (Cole & Knowles, 2001)
Cole and Knowles (2001) caution us to work with small groups rather than large groups because "one's life in context leaves readers satisfied and not yearning for more cases (p. 70)"
Good narrative work challenges notions of hierarchy and power that places researchers exclusively in charge
Trusts that human reflexivity can uncover deep-seated meanings of experience
Caveat: "Falsehood may be substituted for meaning and narrative truth by using the same criteria that give rise to significance, value and intention. Not only may one ‘fake the data’ and write a fiction, but one may also use the data to tell a deception as
easily as a truth" (Connelly & Clandinin, 1990, p 10)
Good narrative research is honest, accessible, maintains authenticity and subject voice and avoids sentimentality, omissions, political correctness, cliches, and self-interest (O'Dea, 1994)
So then... how
do we evaluate
narrative work?
Nearly any type of qualitative research can use narratives to gain insight or understanding
Some applications include:
health and medicine
feminist theory
queer theory
secondary data analysis
political and policy analysis
literary and media
To find patterns and meaning in narratives, look for the story within the story...
When do we
do narrative
...this is not an exhaustive list
Connelly, F. M., & Clandinin, D. J. (1990). Stories of experience and narrative inquiry. Educational Researcher, 19(5), 2-14.
O'Dea, J.W. (1994). Pursuing truth in narrative research. Journal of Philosophy of Education, 28 (2), 161-171.
Gallagher, K.M. (2011). In search of a theoretical basis for storytelling in education research: story as method. International Journal of Research & Method in Education, 34 (1), 49–61
Cole, A. L. (2001). In Knowles J. G. (Ed.), Lives in context : The art of life history research (pp 70-111). Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira Press.
How do we as
analyze narratives?

Sharry Taylor
Monique Windross
Marianna Siniakova
How will this narrative affect yours...?
Table of contents
What is narrative research?
What is a narrative?
How is narrative used in educational research?
Methodology and processes
Interpreting data
Criteria for good narrative research
Types & applications
Spence, D.P. (1986). Narrative smoothing and clinical wisdom. In T.R. Sarbin (Ed), Narrative psychology- the stories nature of human conduct, (pp. 211-232) New York. Praeger Special Studies
Thank you for reading!!
Full transcript