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Using stories and symbols as
evidence
How to collect and analyse data
Learning Together
Data collection methods
• Stories
• Observation
What is Narrative Inquiry?
• The methodological use of story
• Focuses on the ways in which people make and use
stories to interpret the world
• Narratives are not „simply‟ a set of facts – social
products produced by people within the context of
social, historical and cultural locations
• Interpretive devices through which people represent
themselves
• Rather than „what happened‟ – „what is the
significance of this event‟?
The Narrative Inquiry
Research Process
• Research process „unfolds‟ – common not to have
very specific research questions at the outset
• Discrete activities of research – theoretical
frameworks, data collection and analysis, literature
review – often woven together
• Research process itself is as important as the
research – and often becomes a story
• Often begins with the “researcher‟s autobiographically
oriented narrative associated with the research puzzle”
(Clandinin & Connelly, 2000; 40)
The Narrative Inquiry
Research Process
• Stresses the „journey‟ (of the research)
over the „destination‟
• Less likely to have specific outcomes
What are the Research
Methods/Strategies
• Gathering of stories in any form – visual,
written, oral
• Narrative interviewing
• “Actions, doings and happenings” –
unanticipated narratives
• Researcher‟s autobiographical
experiences
Narrative Interviewing
“When the interview is viewed as a
conversation – a discourse between
speakers – rules of everyday conversation
apply: turn taking; relevancy; and entrance
and exit talk to transition into, and return
from a story world (Riessman, 2004; 709)”.
Narrative Interviewing
• Invites stories that are meaningful for the narrator –
rather than assume s/he has answers to questions
researcher 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 and
Educational Research
• Concern with representation and voice – focus is on
stories of teachers and learners – meanings that they
give to their experiences
• Seeks to „give voice‟ to minorities – „others‟ whose
voices are not always heard
• Need for greater diversity of voices to avoid
inappropriate 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 narration
attended 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 adds
other dimensions
• Thematic analysis interrogates „what‟; structural analysis
interrogates „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 all
meanings plausible?
• Interpretation must be linked to features in the text, including how
it 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 audience
in mind
• Requires close reading of contexts, including the influence of
researcher, setting and social circumstances on the production and
interpretation of narrative
• The response of the listener and ultimately the reader/audience is
implicated in the art of storytelling
• Intersubjectivity and reflexivity come to the fore – dialogue between
researcher 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…” (Oxford
English Dictionary)
• generally natural behaviour
• Aim: collection of information about the world with
the intention of guiding behaviour (indirectly)
through the production of public knowledge which
can be used by others
• is planned and systematic
• is recorded and interpreted systematically
• is subject to validity checks to check accuracy
Types of observation
More structured Less structured
• Aim = to collect
accurate quantitative
data – (patterns)
• Pre-structured
categories (for
analysis)
• observation
schedule
• Aim = to get detailed
qualitative description of
human behavior that
illuminate social
meanings & shared
culture, to develop a
theory (eg grounded
theory)
• Minimum pre-structuring
• Observer is open-
minded
Different Contexts
The context is usually chosen by the researcher, but
may also be varied by the researcher
• How structured? – Does activity follow
some sequence that can be
anticipated?
• How naturalistic? – How is the context
being 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, who
interrupts whom, who speaks quietly/loudly (Deem et al
1995)
• Strategies & processes (eg pedagogies, assessment)
How to record information
• Fieldnotes
• Audio-videorecording
• Go through notes and tapes straight after to check and
put 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 as
mediators of meaning
The wedge tailed eagle
symbolises strategic
awareness:
(a) able to spiral high in the sky
to look for prey;
(b) patient, strategic and smart;
(c) stealthy;
(d) confident and self-aware;
(e) able to use aerodynamics;
(f) able to understand invisible
things; and
(g) able to see the big picture.
LI
I
I
I
I
I
I
I
I
I
I
I
I
I
I
EnquiryBlogger
Student K: If you have a look later it would
look really different to what I am [now] . . . I
put changing and learning in but you can‟t
see the difference in me now. The snake
like sheds its skin to grow and that like
means like when I grow up I‟ll collect more,
get more detail and that into it and the
platypus is Dad [who] teaches me about
pocket watches.
Researcher: And what would you think the
differences in you are now?
Student K: Like enjoying myself, looking
more into stuff and that.
Researcher: What have been the most
important things that you think have helped
you change a bit like that? Is it that you‟ve
found something that you‟re really
interested in and want to explore or . . . ?
Student K: Yeah, yes it is. Yeah, it‟s like
looking for treasure.

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Using stories and symbols as evidence

  • 1. Using stories and symbols as evidence How to collect and analyse data Learning Together
  • 2. Data collection methods • Stories • Observation
  • 3. What is Narrative Inquiry? • The methodological use of story • Focuses on the ways in which people make and use stories to interpret the world • Narratives are not „simply‟ a set of facts – social products produced by people within the context of social, historical and cultural locations • Interpretive devices through which people represent themselves • Rather than „what happened‟ – „what is the significance of this event‟?
  • 4. The Narrative Inquiry Research Process • Research process „unfolds‟ – common not to have very specific research questions at the outset • Discrete activities of research – theoretical frameworks, data collection and analysis, literature review – often woven together • Research process itself is as important as the research – and often becomes a story • Often begins with the “researcher‟s autobiographically oriented narrative associated with the research puzzle” (Clandinin & Connelly, 2000; 40)
  • 5. The Narrative Inquiry Research Process • Stresses the „journey‟ (of the research) over the „destination‟ • Less likely to have specific outcomes
  • 6. What are the Research Methods/Strategies • Gathering of stories in any form – visual, written, oral • Narrative interviewing • “Actions, doings and happenings” – unanticipated narratives • Researcher‟s autobiographical experiences
  • 7. Narrative Interviewing “When the interview is viewed as a conversation – a discourse between speakers – rules of everyday conversation apply: turn taking; relevancy; and entrance and exit talk to transition into, and return from a story world (Riessman, 2004; 709)”.
  • 8. Narrative Interviewing • Invites stories that are meaningful for the narrator – rather than assume s/he has answers to questions researcher 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
  • 9. Narrative Inquiry and Educational Research • Concern with representation and voice – focus is on stories of teachers and learners – meanings that they give to their experiences • Seeks to „give voice‟ to minorities – „others‟ whose voices are not always heard • Need for greater diversity of voices to avoid inappropriate dominance of „majority‟ voices • Particularly suited to practitioner research
  • 10. 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 narration attended 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
  • 11. Data Analysis - Dialogic/Performance Analysis • Makes selective use of thematic and structural analysis and adds other dimensions • Thematic analysis interrogates „what‟; structural analysis interrogates „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 all meanings plausible? • Interpretation must be linked to features in the text, including how it is organised • Researcher can bring information from the interview context – other readers may not have access to this
  • 12. Data Analysis - Dialogic/Performance Analysis • Interrogates how talk is interactively („dialogically‟) produced and „performed‟ as narrative • „Performative‟ – identities situated and accomplished with an audience in mind • Requires close reading of contexts, including the influence of researcher, setting and social circumstances on the production and interpretation of narrative • The response of the listener and ultimately the reader/audience is implicated in the art of storytelling • Intersubjectivity and reflexivity come to the fore – dialogue between researcher and researched, text and reader, knower and known • Research report becomes a story with readers the audience
  • 13. Aim of observation • Observation = “to watch, to attend to…” (Oxford English Dictionary) • generally natural behaviour • Aim: collection of information about the world with the intention of guiding behaviour (indirectly) through the production of public knowledge which can be used by others • is planned and systematic • is recorded and interpreted systematically • is subject to validity checks to check accuracy
  • 14. Types of observation More structured Less structured • Aim = to collect accurate quantitative data – (patterns) • Pre-structured categories (for analysis) • observation schedule • Aim = to get detailed qualitative description of human behavior that illuminate social meanings & shared culture, to develop a theory (eg grounded theory) • Minimum pre-structuring • Observer is open- minded
  • 15. Different Contexts The context is usually chosen by the researcher, but may also be varied by the researcher • How structured? – Does activity follow some sequence that can be anticipated? • How naturalistic? – How is the context being influenced by the researcher? …. (CF. role of the researcher)
  • 16. 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, who interrupts whom, who speaks quietly/loudly (Deem et al 1995) • Strategies & processes (eg pedagogies, assessment)
  • 17. How to record information • Fieldnotes • Audio-videorecording • Go through notes and tapes straight after to check and put 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
  • 18. Image and Symbol as mediators of meaning The wedge tailed eagle symbolises strategic awareness: (a) able to spiral high in the sky to look for prey; (b) patient, strategic and smart; (c) stealthy; (d) confident and self-aware; (e) able to use aerodynamics; (f) able to understand invisible things; and (g) able to see the big picture.
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  • 22. Student K: If you have a look later it would look really different to what I am [now] . . . I put changing and learning in but you can‟t see the difference in me now. The snake like sheds its skin to grow and that like means like when I grow up I‟ll collect more, get more detail and that into it and the platypus is Dad [who] teaches me about pocket watches. Researcher: And what would you think the differences in you are now? Student K: Like enjoying myself, looking more into stuff and that. Researcher: What have been the most important things that you think have helped you change a bit like that? Is it that you‟ve found something that you‟re really interested in and want to explore or . . . ? Student K: Yeah, yes it is. Yeah, it‟s like looking for treasure.