Friday, March 10, 2006

Tell me a story

Forgive me dear Blog reader but it has been over a month since my last posting. Not quite sure what happened, blogging fatigue maybe? I'm trying very hard to find my blogging mojo so in an attempt to break this negative cylce of low content production I'll just start writing and see what happens........

Maybe I'll tell you about some stories. In an earlier post I questioned my own creative output, being a researcher and all (hey I have a fine art degree it matters...ok). Well some useful responses courtesy, I belive, of Antonio Gould made me examine this whole thing a little bit more and reminded me that within research there is always the opportunity to take a creative approach, not to mention the endless writing that seems to accompany it.........not always so creative.

But here's the thing. Recently I have ben using a narrative methodology in my rsearch, in two ways both eliciting stories that people have been told and also having folks tell me their own experience as a story, this, in particular, I find extremely interesitng (it helps that I am genuinly interested in hearing about people - read nosey if you like). What I have discovered with this approach is that amongst other things it helps with the following things:
  • Both you and the interviewee identify the most salient points through the story
  • Everyone understands stories, so it is a nice common curreny between interviewer, interviee and future reader
  • It helps you find out how an orgnaisation/individual has made sense of a situation

I recently spoke to a senior colleague who introduced me to this approcah, he also makes use of drawing and all mannor of other creative means to understand and explore human and organsiational experiences.To this end I will be attending some regular workshops to try to get my head around these other methodolgies and hopefully will be testing them out on some folks.

My next step is how to make the writing really interesting to read (and I don't mean this blog, I'm hoping the posts are short enough not to get too dull)....and to think about other methods of disseminating my research findings.

1 comment:

Antonio Gould said...

I think that story telling is hugely important in research as are other creative methodologies. I was introduced to these ideas through working with Paul Murphy.

Most of the consultative stuff he does is around young people and by far the best way of bringing out their thoughts and feelings are through encouraging them to tell stories in a creative way - through monologue, writing music, writing films and so on. This video ( is a good example (produced as a response to the Antisocial behaviour bill).

When working with young people these issues are even more important - the further you can get away from a paper based questionnaire the better. I think it's also true with people of any age.