Narrative Inquiry the Work of Research Proposal

Excerpt from Research Proposal :

Keeping the continuous, cycle and rhythmic sense of time before us is another task we have come to associate with the study of narrative." (2000, p. 8)

V. Reflection and Deliberation

Clandinin and Connelly state that 'reflection and deliberation' are both terms which "refer to the methods of practical inquiry and are springboards for thinking of narrative and story as method." (2000, p. 8) Reflection is stated to have a sense of "looking back' or a "casting back, whereas deliberation has a forward sense, a sense of preparation for the future." (Clandinin and Connelly, 2000, p. 8)

Both reflection and deliberation are stated to be terms that "refer to practical reasoning and yield uncertain results." (Clandinin and Connelly, 2000, p.9) A narrative is sated to be "always tentative to a degree" and that the narrative 'produces likelihood, not certainty." (Clandinin and Connelly, 2000, p.10) A narrative is stated to be "inescapably practical and theoretical." (Clandinin and Connelly, 2000, p.10) A narrative construction is held by Clandinin and Connelly to be practical since it is "concerned with a person's experience in time and it is uncertain because the stories are told and retold could be otherwise as indeed can the narrative threads and the intentional futures to which they attach." (2000, p. 10)

The uncertainty is stated to be "principally dependent on two things" which include the "the specific practitioner and/or researcher interest in constructing the narrative and on their horizons which wall off continuous temporal domains of personal biography and social tradition and social domains of community and culture." (Clandinin and Connelly, 2000, p.10) Stated to be the most important point is that "reflection and deliberation are the methods in which one's life, and the stories of it, are restored for the purposes of re-living. It is the way to chart a course amidst biographic, cultural and traditional bonds." (Clandinin and Connelly, 2000, p.10)

Clandinin and Connelly (2000) state that narrative inquiry method "involves a participant observation, shared work in a practical setting..." And is a process that is one described as "joint living out of two person's narratives, researcher and practitioner, so that both participants are continuing to tell their own stories but the stories are now being lived out in a collaborative setting. The data for this collaboratively lived narrative involves field notes of the shared experience, journal records made by one or both of the participants, interview transcripts of discussion between the two participants, researcher and participants and the stories shared." (p.11)

VI. Process of Narrative Inquiry

The process of narrative inquiry is characterized by "movement from experience to researcher and practitioner field notes, transcripts, documents and descriptive storying of the experienced narrative, to a mutual reconstruction of a narrative account..." (Clandinin and Connelly, 2000, p.11) Clandinin and Connelly, 2000, p.10 state that it should be clear that the narrative inquiry process is "not a linear one, there is data collection and further narrative reconstruction. The narrative inquiry process itself is a narrative one of storying, restorying, and restorying again." (Clandinin and Connelly, 2000, p.11)

Narrative inquiry generally does not begin with a problem being prespecified and a set of hypotheses and instead they tend to begin "with an interest in a particular phenomenon which could be understood narratively, such as teachers' personally held instruction knowledge in the work of Elbaz (1982, 1983)..." (Clandinin and Connelly, 2000, p.11) The work of Nah (nd) relates that the 'umbrella of narrative inquiry' is that which is illustrated in the following labeled Figure 1.

Figure 1

The Umbrella of Narrative Inquiry

Source: Nah (nd)

Clandinin and Connelly (2000) report that in the construction of narrative accounts "ways of telling an individual's story as embedded within particular cultures and histories are offered. Accounts of how the individual is shaped by the larger professional knowledge context and also the ways in which the professional knowledge context has been reshaped in the unique situation in which the individual lives and the works are constructed. In narrative inquiry the individual is shaped by the situation and shapes the situation in the living out of the story and in the storying of the experience." (p. 14)

It is held by Clandinin and Connelly (2000) that these interpretations are offered since "because one of the main functions of research from a narrativist point-of-view is to foster reflection and restorying on the part of participants. The first and central contribution lies in the interactive relations between practitioner and researcher which leads to a mutual, collaborative telling and retelling of the participants, both practitioner and researcher stories." (Clandinin and Connelly, 2000, p.14)

VII. Writing the Narrative Inquiry Report

Narratives are written by researchers for "a larger audience than their participants..." Or that of themselves and other practitioners. (Clandinin and Connelly, 2000, p.15) Clandinin and Connelly state that the question "of rendering an account for the larger audience raises issues around the ways in which researchers should write accounts of narrative inquiry and the ways in which such accounts should be read. Part of the concern in narrative inquiry is with audience..." therefore the narrative researcher needs to "concern themselves with issues of representation and audience." (Clandinin and Connelly, 2000, p.14)

As the narrative research account is read, "the intent is to foster reflection, storying and restorying for them. Other narrative researchers such as Rose (1983) share similar purposes in writing for a larger audience" and specifically the intent of Rose is stated to be that "the work as a whole will suggest new truths especially the extent to which all living is a creative act of greater or less authenticity, hindered or helped by the fictions to which we submit ourselves." (Clandinin and Connelly, 2000, p.14)

When one reads a narrative they are drawn into the story and they "find a place or way of seeing through participating in the story." (Clandinin and Connelly, 2000, p.17) The completeness of a story is stated to lie within the "immediacy and which narrative is able to render the concrete particularities of experience." (Clandinin and Connelly, 2000, p.17) The narrative form is important in that the "aesthetically reproduces the temporal tensions of experience, a moving present tensed between and every moment embracing a memory of what has gone before and an activity projected underway." (Clandinin and Connelly, 2000, p.17)


Narrative inquiry involves the recording through use of journals, notes, transcripts recordings and other methods of keeping records the story, and restorying of the participants in the research case study. The narrative form of research is a methodology that examines the experiential data produced through the narrative and reporting of participants and is a method that is considered most appropriate in attempting to understand phenomenon on a social level in the research study initiative.


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