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CH 3 (Methodology- Heuristic Inquiry and Narrative Approach (Storytelling)
3.0 Explanation of what the two methodologies are and how they will be used for the Research Paper (Heuristic Inquiry and Narrative Approach)
3.1 A lack of development in the literature
3.2 Transactional perspectives and the literature
3.3 Individual Differences and combined effects in the literature
3.4 Too little complexity in stress-related research
3.5 Too much complexity in stress-related research
3.6 A middle ground between simplicity and complexity
3.7 Rationale for research
3.8 Theoretical basis for variable selection
3.9 The issue of confounding variables
3.10 Summary of chapter 3
Heuristic inquiry does not exclude the researcher from the study; rather, it incorporates the researcher’s experiences with the experiences of co-researchers. The researcher is required to have a direct experience of the phenomenon in question (Moustakas, 1990) in order to discover its essence and meaning. As such, “heuristics is concerned with meanings, not measurements; with essence, not appearance; with quality, not quantity; with experience, not behavior” (Douglass & Moustakas, 1984, p. 42). However, heuristic inquiry is not a process without order. Instead, it requires the researcher to engage in a disciplined pursuit of fundamental meanings connected to significant human experiences. Both passionate and disciplined commitment to studying of human experiences is necessary to ensure trustworthiness. Heuristic research differs considerably from other methodologies in that it views the researcher as a participant. As such, it allows the researcher to experience the intensity of the phenomenon. In fact, in heuristic research researchers pursue the inherent truth of the meaning of the phenomenon through processes of reflective learning that is self-directed, self-motivated, and open to spontaneous change in direction (Douglass & Moustakas, 1985). It is the researcher who creates the story that depicts deep meanings and essences of unique human experiences (Moustakas, 1990). Such research is inherently personal and it allows for participants to have their stories understood and their voices heard. Furthermore, when participants are chosen for a heuristics study, they are not viewed as mere subjects in the study but as important co-researchers who are an integral part of the heuristic process (Moustakas).
The heuristic process involves getting inside the research question, becoming one with it and living it. In this respect, it is the question that chooses the researcher. Sela-Smith (2002) acknowledged that this makes it a valuable tool in the exploration of the study of subjective human experience. Nursing practice and literature are replete with examples of how personal experience of healing, suffering, death, care, communication or stress, to mention but a few, has resulted in inquiry. Moustakas (1990) highlights that, if personal experience is going to be a catalyst for inquiry and change, it also requires that the qualities of tacit knowing and intuition are acknowledged.
Narrative inquiry is an umbrella term that captures personal and human dimensions of experience over time, and takes account of the relationship between individual experience and cultural context (Clandinin and Connelly 2000). Narrative inquiry is a means by which we systematically gather, analyse, and represent people’s stories as told by them, which challenges traditional and modernist views of truth, reality, knowledge and personhood.
Subjective meanings and sense of self and identity are negotiated as the stories unfold, … bearing in mind that stories are reconstructions of the person’s experiences, … remembered and told at a particular point in their lives, to a particular researcher/audience and for a particular purpose. This all has a bearing on how the stories are told, which stories are told and how they are presented/interpreted. They do not represent ‘life as lived’ but our re-presentations of those lives as told to us.
‘Narrative knowing’ Narrative knowledge – created and constructed through stories of lived experiences, and the meanings created. Helps make sense of the ambiguity and complexity of human lives. The stories are re-presented in ways that preserve their integrity and convey a sense of the ‘irreducible humanity’ of the person. Narrative analysis treats stories as knowledge per se which constitutes ‘the social reality of the narrator’ (Etherington, 2004:81) and conveys a sense of that person’s experience in its depth, messiness, richness and texture, by using the actual words spoken. It includes some of researchers part in that conversation in order to be transparent about the relational nature of the research, and the ways in which these stories are shaped through dialogue and co-construction, as well providing a reflexive layer with regard to researchers positioning.