Narrative Inquiry Research - Pleasures, potential and pitfalls of narrative inquiry

A School of Education seminar presented on September 18th, 2013 by Dr Phoenix de Carteret

Narrative Inquiry is a hybrid research method that is by no means defined by one single method, theory or glossary. In its broadest terms, narrative is used variously in different disciplines and projects. In this workshop I will briefly outline the emergence of narrative methods from a family of disciplines and theoretical perspectives, drawing attention to considerations in the design and implementation of research using this approach.
Personal stories can undoubtedly be a rich source of data offering significant potential. However, there are also possible pitfalls. Initially, my use of narrative methods was a serendipitous journey navigating the pleasures and the pitfalls. With examples from my research experiences I will offer suggestions to meet the need for rigour while accessing the potentially rich data in personal stories. I will outline the collaborative, biographical storytelling method I use that encourages stories of experience to fly beyond dominant narratives.
If there is time and a willingness to participate I will facilitate a short, playful collaborative storytelling as a taster.

Phoenix is a researcher, educator, workshop facilitator, and storyteller. Her PhD was awarded by UNE in 2005 and in 2006 she took up a position in the Faculty of Education at Monash University as Research Fellow. Subsequently, she has worked at the University of Newcastle in various capacities in the disciplines of Film, Media and Culture; Education; and Health and Medicine. Working with others talking about their life experiences has been a significant feature of her career including for example, research projects with Aboriginal co-researchers telling their stories through art making; women telling their experiences in the LaTrobe Valley, a region of significant socioeconomic disadvantage; and in collaboration with Hunter New England Health, with survivors of stroke. This eclectic background has enriched her appreciation of biographical storytelling as a research method, and is complemented by professional training as a storyteller in the way of story.



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