Annotated Bibliography of Resources for Educational Reform, Coherent Teaching Practice, and Improved Student Learning

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  • Connelly, F. M., & Clandinin, D. J. (1990). Stories of experience and narrative inquiry. Educational Researcher, 19 (5), 2-14.

Narrative is increasingly used in educational research studies to investigate the ways people experience education. Connelly and Clandinin use the word "narrative" to mean both the phenomenon (people lead storied lives and tell stories of those lives) and the method (researchers describe those lives, collect and tell stories of them, and write narratives of experience). They outline the possibilities for narrative inquiry within educational studies and explore methodological issues of narrative inquiry. They begin with a discussion of the establishment of a collaborative relationship between researchers and teachers, a prerequisite for narrative inquiry. Of importance is the construction of a relationship in which the voices of both researchers and practitioners are heard. The authors describe a variety of narrative data sources and ways of collecting narrative data, including field notes of shared experience, journal records, unstructured interviews, story telling, letter writing, and autobiographical and biographical writing. Narrative studies require paying attention to criteria other than validity, reliability, and generalizability. Adequacy and plausibility are suggested as being more appropriate criteria. In the construction of the narrative, attention must be paid to time and place, plot and scene, and voice. The authors conclude with the observation that narrative and story generate a somewhat new agenda of theory-practice relations, one of researchers working with teachers to construct a collaborative story of inquiry in teaching and learning.

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