Theoretical reflections on narrative in action research.
Anderson, Alistair R.
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TOLEDANO, N. and ANDERSON, A.R. 2017. Theoretical reflections on narrative in action research. Action research [online], OnlineFirst. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1177/1476750317748439
Narrative is an important tool for developing and writing up action research experiences. Its power lies in the fact that narrative construction and narrative recounting are fundamental human communication practices. Narratives are also knowledge producing devices, since they make sense of personal experiences and share that sense-giving with others. However, the twinned duality of narrative knowing (sense-making) and narrative telling (communicating that sense) has often caused narrative as a methodological approach to be disregarded or misunderstood. Our objective is to reflect on how we can best use the narrative method in action research by paying due attention to these issues. In doing so, we consider ontologies, epistemologies and key characteristics. We argue that what has been seen as a weakness in the narrative method, its deep subjectivity, can actually be employed as an analytical strength in action research. We show how examining explanations of context, inherent in narrative processes, can provide rich insights into the meanings of phenomena.