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The qualitative method of inquiry involving narrative research By: Saed Kakei, Ph.D. Student (No1144759), CARD 7110 DL1/A midterm essay paper. Jason J. Campbell, Ph.D. Nova Southeastern University Department of Conflict Analysis & Resolution PhD Program October 13, 2011

Kakei 1 The qualitative method of inquiry involving narrative research Abstract This midterm paper attempts to examine and explain the connection between the qualitative method of inquiry and the narrative research approach. By applying well defined definitions for research, qualitative inquiry and narrative research, the paper provides an explanatory rational for the use of narrative research within the qualitative method of inquiry. As it reviews how the intellectual expansions within the qualitative paradigm have been conceptualizing the narrative approach, the paper attempts to provide reasons for understanding human life experiences through narrative analysis. What is research? As a prologue for this short paper, Ive chosen to mention a comprehensive meaning for the most over-abused word in the English Language; that is research. According to the online dictionary of Merriam-Webster (2011), the basic definition for research is [a] studious inquiry or examination; especially: investigation or experimentation aimed at the discovery and interpretation of facts, revision of accepted theories or laws in the light of new facts, or the practical application of such new or revised theories or laws (Webster, 2011). The central theme of this definition spins on discovering new knowledge which requires the application of a systematic investigation or a methodical inquiry. Systemic inquiry has to have an understanding value powered by prediction and control of the proceedings that distinguishes it from other sources of opinion and belief. A proceeding can be understood by relating it logically to other events. It can be predicted by linking it empirically to backgrounds. It can also be measured by influencing the independent variable to which it is functionally

Kakei 2 related. Therefore, linking variables or happenings shapes the key characteristics of any research. Research influences the world of human activity. It produces the dynamics for human actions which are in need of persistent change. Change occurs because of the discovery of new knowledge. However, for new knowledge to be wittingly effective, it must be in the form of an idea which then it has to be systematically examined. The systemic examination of an idea, in turn, has been recognized by scholars as the method of inquiry or a research method. The term research method basically means the process in which we proceed to solve problems. Huitt (1992) defined problem solving as the process in which we perceive and resolve a gap between a present situation and a desired goal, with the path to the goal blocked by known or unknown obstacles (p. 34). By this definition, we understand that the methodology of research is a basic process that requires fundamental approaches to solve problems. These problem solving approaches include: defining the problem with questions; determining the main cause by analyzing collected data; hypothesizing rational solutions; careful planning for executing the confirmed hypothesis leading to a solution; and, once the problem is solved, communicating the solution with empathy, integrity, and recognition. Knowledge and paradigm In all social sciences, knowledge is generated by stories told. In the processes of storytelling, people try to make sense of particular phenomena in order to be able to make predictions or provide justifications on how to control it. During this phase, two basic questions dominate the occurrence. The first question is empirical. It pertains to knowing and it forms itself as What is? The second question is normative; and, it is about the occurrence which mostly comes in the form of What ought to be. Empirical questions govern the use of data in

Kakei 3 laboratory sciences, whereas normative questioning predominate narrative knowledge in the humanities and the social sciences. In other words, two major yet contrasting paradigms or world views guide the methodology of any research (Willis, 2007). The first is pragmatic and it is concerned with data collection commonly known as quantitative research. As for the other, it is a normative paradigm popularly known as qualitative research. Thomas P. Wilson in Douglas (1970) defined the normative paradigm as it consists of two major orienting ideas: interaction is essentially rule governed, and sociological explanation should properly take the deductive form characteristic of natural science (p. 59). Willis (2007) has challenged this widely perceived notion by stating that [the] major difference between these approaches is not the type of data collected. It is in the foundational assumptions, the givens that are assumed to be true (p. 7). What is Qualitative Research? The paradigm debates are no less than the increasingly complicating definitions written for these two research approaches. For example, in defining qualitative research, Denzin and Lincoln (2011) offered an initial generic definition stating that it "consists of a set of interpretive, material practices that make the world visible." These multidimensional practices are described as transformational with which "[t]hey turn the world into a series of representations, including field notes, interviews, conversations, photographs, recordings, and memos to the self (p. 3). These collected illustrations come from a variety of empirical materialscase study, personal experience, introspection, life story, interview, artifacts, and cultural texts and productions, along with observational, historical, interactional, and visual textsthat describe routine and problematic moments and meanings in individuals lives (pp. 3-4). Creswell (2007) provided a broader definition for qualitative research emphasizing the procedural nature, the intricacy of the final process, and its naturalistic setting of inquiry:

Kakei 4 Qualitative research begins with assumptions, a woridview, the possible use of a theoretical lens, and the study of research problems inquiring into the meaning individuals or groups ascribe to a social or human problem. To study this problem, qualitative researchers use an emerging qualitative approach to inquiry, the collection of data in a natural setting sensitive to the people and places under study, and data analysis that is inductive and establishes patterns or themes. The final written report or presentation includes the voices of participants, the reflexivity of the researcher, and a complex description and interpretation of the problem, and it extends the literature or signals a call for action (p. 37). Denzin and Lincoln (2011) provided a chronological background for the history of qualitative research. In the first half of the 20th century, The Traditional Period, qualitative researchers were manipulated by imperialist powers. Then, from the post 1948 to 1970sknown as the Modernist Phase, qualitative research was accepted as the norm of inquiry due to the shortcomings of the quantitative post-positivism paradigm. However, as the qualitative researchers developed their paradigms, approaches, and plans to use in their research during the Blurred Genresprior to mid-1980s, the fourth phase shaped its domain by the Crisis of Representation during which qualitative research faced with the problems of genderfeminism, classcritical thinking, and raceethnicity epistemologies. Lastly, Denzin and Lincoln (2011) branded the present era as a Triple Crisis. This phase is marked and formed by a triple crisis of representation, legitimization and praxis [that] confronts qualitative researchers (p. 19), especially with issues of whether qualitative researchers can flawlessly record subsisted experience in the post-structural moment. Qualitative research is concerned with understanding the natural life; and, it is decidedly explanatory in nature. Qualitative researchs goal is to recognize the multidimensional explanations of peoples experience and their interactive relations within socio-cultural systems. As a problem solving method, qualitative inquiry gives the researchers and the participants a learning experience. In his description of the characteristics of qualitative research, Ragin (1987)

Kakei 5 provided that the researcher is the key data collector who makes use of expressive language and that data gets compiled as texts with attention to particular. Then, the end result would be an analytical inductive process utilizing reason as the only mode of persuasion. Creswell (2007) provided several validation points for undertaking a qualitative inquiry. These validation or authentication reasons could be condensed into three categories. First, a qualitative inquiry is intended to confirm hypotheses about a fundamental connection between certain variables by asking open-ended questions regarding the nature of the inquiry and the natural setting of the occurrence. In general, open-ended questions are exploratory and are outlined to examine a certain phenomenon so that its credibility can be tested by a hypothetical reason of why. Otherwise, a qualitative inquirer has to employ explanatory questions of what and how to thoroughly comprehend the observed phenomenon. Second, a qualitative inquiry needs to provide a thorough opinion of an issue in a written narrative style conditioned by devoted time and necessary financial resources to collect extensive records and stage a thorough data analysis in the field. Third, when targeted audience receptive to a qualitative inquiry, the researcher should remain to be a vigorous learner without judging his or her research participants. In quantitative inquiry, distinctive terms such as validity, reliability, and objectivity are the standards. In their goal to establish and confirm the "trustworthiness" of an inquiry, Lincoln and Guba (1985) had used terms such as credibility, authenticity, dependability, and confirmability (Creswell, 2007, p. 202). Patton (1990) emphasized three issues for a reliable qualitative researcher to address. First, what methods and practices were chosen to confirm the integrity, legitimacy and accuracy of his or her discoveries? Second, what kind of qualifications,

Kakei 6 experience, and perspective he or she is bringing to the study? Lastly, what paradigm and assumptions underline his or her inquiry? As provided above, the qualitative method of inquiry has grown into a complex research system with multiple approaches and various research theories and strategies. Yet, until the Triple Crisis moment comes to an end, many interpretive research scholars and qualitative research philosophers are in concert to teach and reflect on fewer that ten methods of qualitative research. In so far, Creswell (2007) has identified five of these methods as approaches for a qualitative inquiry. These approaches include the narrative, phenomenology, grounded theory, ethnography, and case studies. However, since this term paper has a predetermined rubric, I will attempt to briefly cover narrative research by explaining its dynamics within the qualitative inquiry. What is Narrative Research? The narrative research method is reshaping the qualitative inquiry in virtually every social science discipline and the studies of humanities. Narrative research is the most appropriate system of analysis for oral, written and recorded audio-visual stories of human experience. Schwandt (2007) defined narrative study or the narrative inquiry as the interdisciplinary study of the activities involved in generating and analyzing stories of life experiences (e.g., life histories, narrative interviews, journals, diaries, memoirs, autobiographies, and biographies) and reporting that kind of research (pp. 203-4). Narrative research is uniquely positioned within the qualitative paradigm. In their quest to explore and understand human problems, narrative researchers examine human life experience by narrative or storytelling. Also, to understand the natural settings for the participants actions, narrative researchers design their qualitative inquiries based on various theoretical interpretations

Kakei 7 of how individuals think and communicate narratively. In so doing, narrative researchers will be better positioned to form a holistic meaning of a humans life experience for the purpose of predicting possible outcomes of future actions. Therefore, as Creswell (2008) stated, narrative research is a literary form of qualitative research (p. 512). For example, narrative research would be the right approach to for conflict resolution students and professionals who seek to prevent genocide and crimes against humanity. Another best-suited application of narrative research in intrastate conflict is with peace and reconciliation commissions. These informal conflict prevention commissions face with overwhelming traumatic story telling. Texting and restorying contextual life experiences of victims of oppressive regimes and civil wars undoubtedly help preventing human sufferings. Like most qualitative researchers, narrative inquirers interpret their exploratory and analytical work as a joint effort aimed at constructing a natural occurrence using the semantic of life stories. As listeners, narrative researchers convert their participants stories into draft texts. At this phase, narrative researchers emphasize the importance of using research tools such as the Triangulation which expands the research possibilities to draw data from several available sources related to the research inquiry. For example, to avoid potential biasness, narrative researchers ask their peers and other researchers not only to review their findings, but also evaluate the consistency of their findings processed by different story collection approaches and interpretive theories (Creswell, 2007). Once the draft texts triangulated, narrative researchers begin the encoding process for chronologically categorizing the retelling or restorying of their participants historical experiences. The most visible character of restorying is its adherence to story settings. In other words, it has a beginning that develops the plot with social cues, a middle leading to a climax,

Kakei 8 and an end with predictable outcomes. Still, for these chronological acts to be flawlessly texted with flexibility, narrative researchers accentuate the importance of collaboration with their participants not only to learn from them, but also to keep a forgoing relationship that may lead to emerging stories (Creswell, 2008). It is worth mentioning that just as trustworthiness is an important validation for qualitative inquiry, it is equally important for narrative researchers to ethically treat their research tools and adhere to the same validation norms of qualitative inquiry. Otherwise, a narrative researcher may have to answer some serious questions about their abilities to protect participants confidentiality. Also, narrative researchers may not need to exploit the emerging stories without anticipating or predicting their end results. Additionally, just as qualitative inquiry is a challenging research paradigm and requires extensive time and effort to conclude a finding, narrative research demands extensive information gathering and a keen attention to hiding knowledge between the multilayered context of a life (Creswell, 2007, p. 57). Summary This paper has discussed and explained the qualitative method of inquiry involving narrative research. The fundamental question of the paper was answered by providing varying qualitative as well as narrative research definitions cited from a grown crowed of recognized scholars and researchers working in diverse disciplines of human sciences. By explaining some of the characteristics as well as the settings of both qualitative inquiry and narrative research, this paper has underlined their similarities by highlighting their shared norms and values. With narrative research, many qualitative inquiries could be defined and their outcomes may reasonably be predicted.

Kakei 9 References: Creswell, J. W. (2007). Qualitative approaches to inquiry. In Qualitative inquiry and research design: Choosing among five approaches (2nd ed., pp. 53-84). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Creswell, J. W. (2008). Narrative research designs. Educational research: Planning, conducting and evaluating quantitative and qualitative research (3rd ed., pp. 511-550). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc. Denzin, N. K. & Lincoln, Y. S. (2011). Introduction: Entering the field of qualitative research. In N. K. Denzin & Y. S. Lincoln. (eds.). Handbook of qualitative research, 4th Edition. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Huitt, W. (1992). Problem solving and decision making: Consideration of individual differences using the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. Journal of Psychological Type, 24, 33-44. Lincoln, Y. S., & Guba, E. G. (1985). Naturalistic inquiry. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage. Merriam-Webster Dictionary. (2011). Retrieved October 08, 2011, from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/research. Patton, M. Q. (1990). Qualitative evaluation and research methods (2nd Ed.). Newbury Park, CA: Sage. Ragin, C. C. (1987). The comparative method: Moving beyond qualitative and quantitative strategies. Berkeley: University of California Press. Schwandt, T. A. (2007). "Literary turn (in social science) and Writing strategies [Dictionary entries]. The Sage dictionary of qualitative inquiry (3rd ed., pp. 179-80, 322). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Willis, J. W. (2007). Foundations of qualitative research: Interpretive and critical approaches.

Kakei 10 Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Wilson, T. P. (1971) Normative and Interpretive Paradigms in Sociology. In Douglas, J. D. (Ed.) Understanding everyday life: toward the reconstruction of sociological knowledge (pp. 57-79). Routledge & Kegan Paul Ltd., London.