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Using Narrative Inquiry as a Research Method: An Introductio

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Elizabeth Lee

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Transcript of Using Narrative Inquiry as a Research Method: An Introductio

Using Narrative Inquiry as a Research Method: An Introduction to Using Critical Event Narrative Analysis in Research on Learning and Teaching

Leonard Webster & Patricie Mertova

Major Aim of This Volume:
To Prove Narrative Inquiry is a Needed Research Methodology
"...there has been a growing realization of the need for a more holistic approach to address issues of complexity, multiplicity of perspectives and human centeredness...These researchers have highlighted the key features which make narrative inquiry more adequate dealing with these issues...none of them has comprehensively describe how to effectively use narrative inquiry as a research method across a range of disciplines. The following chapters endeavored to fulfill this task."
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 Introduction (pgs. 1-12)
Chapter 2 Narrative in Research(pgs. 13-24)
Chapter 3 Philosophies and theories underpinning narrative (pgs. 25-36)
Chapter 4 Examples of stories and narrative inquiry (pgs.37-70)
Chapter 5 A critical events approach to narrative (pgs. 71-88)
Chapter 6 Rethinking validity and reliability (pgs. 89-102)
Chapter 7 A framework for narrative research (pgs. 103-118)
People are always tellers of tales.
They live surrounded by their stories and
the stories of others; they see everything
that happens to them through those stories
and they try to live their lives as if they were recounting them.
Jean-Paul Sartre, 1964
Over the past two decades narrative inquiry has moved from a source of data collection to an actual human centered research methodology. Narrative Inquiry is a research that investigates the ways humans experience the world as depicted through their stories.
Many important people in the field of narrative inquiry are mentioned and quoted in this book. To name only a few...

Jerome Bruner

D. J. Clandinin

Michael Connelly

Theodore Sarbin

F. Albaz
"Four questions serve as a useful framework for exploring the background of narrative and its usefulness from a research perspective."
1. Why narrative?
-Explore of the history and importance of narrative in the context of educational research
2. What is the prominence of narrative in research?
-Establish the existence and spread of narrative in research and the thinking behind it
3. What are the features of narrative in educational research?
-Explore narrative's contribution as an educational research method application across a broad range of academic disciplines
4. Does narrative provide a means to bring the forefront features of human centeredness in research?
-Explore narrative's vital link to real life situations, a link often neglected by more traditional research methods
Two contributions of narrative to research (McEwan and Egan 1995)...
#1 Narrative provides an account of the history of human consciousness .Stories relate to life journey of the human species in the changes that have marker development as thinking beings...Stories of knowledge, discovery, exploratory voyages...These stories culminate in our modern conception of science, the arts, human projects and practices...the stories include those by prominent writers and scholars such as Plato, Rousseau, & Marx
#2 At the level of individual consciousness, stories record personal consciousness from infancy through old age. These stories make up the wealth of moral tales: autobiographies, confessions, biographies, case studies, fables, and any other number of didactic forms.
Dewey's philosophy of education as noted in McEwan and Egan (1995) uses narrative Dewey associates storytelling or narrative with levels of consciousness and literacy...In Dewey's view, narrative gives us an avenue into human consciousness and thus may be a powerful tool for tapping into the complexities of human centeredness in a wide range of environments where learning takes place
The storytelling practices reproduced in conventional educational research and teacher education reflect what Harding (1986) called "the longing for one true story"

Educational research embraces storytelling practices that are unlikely to tell "one true story"

The prominence of narrative arises in part because of the constraints of conventional research methods and their incompatibility with the complexity of human learning. Narrative takes interest in the individual and acknowledges the influence of experience and culture on the construction of knowledge. Narratives association with human activity and it's sensitivity to those type of issues are not revealed by traditional approaches.
*Russian formalists and French structuralists*
Narratology -A standard discipline of literary theory
Classical narratology studied three main perspectives:
narrative grammar
poetic addresses
rhetorical analysis
Narratology was originally driven by an ambition to raise literary studies to the degree of scientific rigor and technical precision that was supposed to be achieved by structuralist linguistics.
Kraft (1979) Six Major Functions of World View
It explains how in why things became the way they are and how are why they continue to change
It is used to order judge or validate
It provides psychological reinforcement for the group
A groups worldview functions with some flexibility
The worldview of a culture or subculture integrates various elements of the culture
Reasons for creating stories (Yoder-Wise & Kowalski (2003):


Looking for reoccurring themes
Looking for consequences
Looking for lessons
Looking for what worked well


Central components of Narrative
Clandinin & Connelley (2000)

Plot, character, scene, place ,time, point of view...
Temporality, context, people, action, certainty...


Examples of Stories by Topic
Utilizing Narrative Inquiry Across Fields
Stories from :
legal education, medical education, neurology, adult education, primary education, theology, social history, and tertiary education

story one
narrative is employed as a means of reflection by its program participants on their professional practice and also as a formative evaluation on the program

Story two
the narrative research method is utilized to investigate a pilot program and distance medical education with the aim of improving similar medical educational programs
Story three
based on our recent interview with a colleague who has supervised a member of narrative focused theses in the area of adult education
Story four
reflection by a senior lecturer in theology he uses narrative widely in his own research
Examples by Summary
Narrative sketches detailing place time characters and events assist the researcher to identify the critical event. Data sources, which informed these narrative sketches, include surveys, observations, documentation, and interviews that enhance the time, place, and description of the critical event. The collection of this data provides researchers with a holistic view of their investigation and enables them to classify occurrences into critical and supporting events which are often overlooked or not revealed through traditional empirical methods. These events then become reportable findings and outcomes of the research.
Critical Events Approach
Critical Events

Exist in a particular context such as formal organizational structures and communities of practice

Impact on the people involved

Have life-changing consequences

Are unplanned

May reveal patterns of well-defined stages

Are only identified after the event


Collecting Stories
Sensitising questions
Theoretical Questions
Practical and Structural Questions


Type of experience
Type of event
Category of event
Affect of event
In narrative research
validity
is more concerned with the research being well grounded and supportable by the data has been collected.
In narrative research
reliability
usually refers to the dependability of the data. Reliability is achieved not by the stability of the measurement but Rather the trustworthiness of the notes or transcripts (Polkinghorne, 1988).
Charts from Book...
It enables a people to sort out arrange and make different commitments allegiances or loyalties to things that are assumed valued and done
Conclusion from Book
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