What is Narrative Inquiry?• The methodological use of story• Focuses on the ways in which people make and usestories to interpret the world• Narratives are not „simply‟ a set of facts – socialproducts produced by people within the context ofsocial, historical and cultural locations• Interpretive devices through which people representthemselves• Rather than „what happened‟ – „what is thesignificance of this event‟?
The Narrative InquiryResearch Process• Research process „unfolds‟ – common not to havevery specific research questions at the outset• Discrete activities of research – theoreticalframeworks, data collection and analysis, literaturereview – often woven together• Research process itself is as important as theresearch – and often becomes a story• Often begins with the “researcher‟s autobiographicallyoriented narrative associated with the research puzzle”(Clandinin & Connelly, 2000; 40)
The Narrative InquiryResearch Process• Stresses the „journey‟ (of the research)over the „destination‟• Less likely to have specific outcomes
What are the ResearchMethods/Strategies• Gathering of stories in any form – visual,written, oral• Narrative interviewing• “Actions, doings and happenings” –unanticipated narratives• Researcher‟s autobiographicalexperiences
Narrative Interviewing“When the interview is viewed as aconversation – a discourse betweenspeakers – rules of everyday conversationapply: turn taking; relevancy; and entranceand exit talk to transition into, and returnfrom a story world (Riessman, 2004; 709)”.
Narrative Interviewing• Invites stories that are meaningful for the narrator –rather than assume s/he has answers to questionsresearcher might pose• A “discursive accomplishment” (Riessman, 2004; 709)– two active participants produce meaning together• Story will differ – depending on teller and listener• Audience has a part to play• The „Western‟ structure of a story
Narrative Inquiry andEducational Research• Concern with representation and voice – focus is onstories of teachers and learners – meanings that theygive to their experiences• Seeks to „give voice‟ to minorities – „others‟ whosevoices are not always heard• Need for greater diversity of voices to avoidinappropriate dominance of „majority‟ voices• Particularly suited to practitioner research
Thematic Narrative Analysis• Emphasis is on „what‟ is said• Minimal focus on „how‟ it is said• Strives to keep the „story‟ intact for interpretive purposes –determining a story‟s boundaries difficult and highly interpretive• Generic explanations rejected – time and place of narrationattended to• Theorises from a single „case‟ – rather than the themes across(as in much grounded theory) - although…• Data may be gathered together to produce an „emplotted‟narrative
Data Analysis -Dialogic/Performance Analysis• Makes selective use of thematic and structural analysis and addsother dimensions• Thematic analysis interrogates „what‟; structural analysisinterrogates „how‟; dialogic/performance analysis asks „who‟,„when‟ and „why‟?• Invites readers to engage with the text• „Risks‟ when we open our work to „different‟ readings – are allmeanings plausible?• Interpretation must be linked to features in the text, including howit is organised• Researcher can bring information from the interview context –other readers may not have access to this
Data Analysis -Dialogic/Performance Analysis• Interrogates how talk is interactively („dialogically‟) produced and„performed‟ as narrative• „Performative‟ – identities situated and accomplished with an audiencein mind• Requires close reading of contexts, including the influence ofresearcher, setting and social circumstances on the production andinterpretation of narrative• The response of the listener and ultimately the reader/audience isimplicated in the art of storytelling• Intersubjectivity and reflexivity come to the fore – dialogue betweenresearcher and researched, text and reader, knower and known• Research report becomes a story with readers the audience
Aim of observation• Observation = “to watch, to attend to…” (OxfordEnglish Dictionary)• generally natural behaviour• Aim: collection of information about the world withthe intention of guiding behaviour (indirectly)through the production of public knowledge whichcan be used by others• is planned and systematic• is recorded and interpreted systematically• is subject to validity checks to check accuracy
Types of observationMore structured Less structured• Aim = to collectaccurate quantitativedata – (patterns)• Pre-structuredcategories (foranalysis)• observationschedule• Aim = to get detailedqualitative description ofhuman behavior thatilluminate socialmeanings & sharedculture, to develop atheory (eg groundedtheory)• Minimum pre-structuring• Observer is open-minded
Different ContextsThe context is usually chosen by the researcher, butmay also be varied by the researcher• How structured? – Does activity followsome sequence that can beanticipated?• How naturalistic? – How is the contextbeing influenced by the researcher? ….(CF. role of the researcher)
What can be observed?• Non-verbal behaviour & actions• Use of space• What is said• Language content and structure• Extra-verbal data; who is speaking, how often, whointerrupts whom, who speaks quietly/loudly (Deem et al1995)• Strategies & processes (eg pedagogies, assessment)
How to record information• Fieldnotes• Audio-videorecording• Go through notes and tapes straight after to check andput in order• Try to keep a field diary• Evernote and images via a phone• Audio & video-recording allows:• More details + More accuracy• Permanent record - More complex and careful analysis
Image and Symbol asmediators of meaningThe wedge tailed eaglesymbolises strategicawareness:(a) able to spiral high in the skyto look for prey;(b) patient, strategic and smart;(c) stealthy;(d) confident and self-aware;(e) able to use aerodynamics;(f) able to understand invisiblethings; and(g) able to see the big picture.
Student K: If you have a look later it wouldlook really different to what I am [now] . . . Iput changing and learning in but you can‟tsee the difference in me now. The snakelike sheds its skin to grow and that likemeans like when I grow up I‟ll collect more,get more detail and that into it and theplatypus is Dad [who] teaches me aboutpocket watches.Researcher: And what would you think thedifferences in you are now?Student K: Like enjoying myself, lookingmore into stuff and that.Researcher: What have been the mostimportant things that you think have helpedyou change a bit like that? Is it that you‟vefound something that you‟re reallyinterested in and want to explore or . . . ?Student K: Yeah, yes it is. Yeah, it‟s likelooking for treasure.