Conference Contribution Details
Mandatory Fields
Hilary Tierney, Ciara Bradley
3rd Irish Narrative Inquiry Conference 10-11 March 2016
'Stories 'r Us' ‘Knowing Well and Knowing Responsibly’ – Navigating Unreliability in Narrative Inquiry
NUI Galway
Oral Presentation
Optional Fields
Hilary Tierney and Ciara Bradley As narrative inquirers we recognise that we humans do not simply refer to events rather we construct events through narrative (Chase, 2008:64). Our ‘theory of being’ acknowledges that we experience the world through constructing, de‐constructing and reconstructing our experiences and ourselves through small stories and big stories, personal and cultural, created and inherited. So while indeed our stories are ourselves, as researchers we need to attend to the inherent unreliability of those stories, as a representation of an uncontested truth or factual account, and develop an epistemology that can account for this . How do we address the unreliability of our research stories about other ‘unreliable’ stories and still present a valid account in research terms?This challenge must be addressed in all aspects of our research process if we are to ‘know well and know responsibly’ (Mauthner and Doucet, 2002). We know that we cannot simply uncritically re‐present the complex web of stories that emerge in any research process so what strategies, devices, and processes can we employ to convey a degree of clarity in terms of voice, stance, assumptions and analytic lens about whose (partial) story is being told in any given moment (Connolly, 2007:453)? How we approach and manage these research relationships is paramount to ethical practice in the ‘power‐based knowledge construction processes’ (Code, 1995) and the accountability of the research process and the stories we represent. As researchers we have ‘an obligation and commitment not only to research participants but also to those who read, re‐interpret and take seriously the claims that we make’ (Doucet and Mauthner, 2002). Drawing on practice examples this paper will explore our relationship as researchers to the stories we elicit, listen to, analyse, interpret, represent and present, our relationship to the process, to the stories we finally tell and how we tell them, and those we don’t tell.