Moving From Field Text to Research Text in Narrative Inquiry: A Study Exemplar

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Abstract

Narrative Inquiry is a research methodology that enables a researcher to explore experience through a metaphorical analytic three-dimensional space where time, interaction of personal and social conditions, and place make up the dimensions for working with co-participant stories. This inquiry process, analysis, and interpretation involve a series of reflective cognitive movements that make possible the reformulations that take place in the research journey. In this article, I retell the process of my inquiry in moving from field texts (data sources) to research text (interpretation of experience) in Narrative Inquiry. I draw from an inquiry on how nurses experience living their values amidst organizational change to share how I as an inquirer/researcher, moved from field texts to narrative accounts; narrative resonant threads; composite letter as the narrative of experience; personal, practical, and social justifications to construct the research text and represent it another form as a poem. These phases in the inquiry involve considerations in the analytic and interpretive process that are essential in understanding how to conduct Narrative Inquiry. Lastly and unique to my inquiry, I share how a letter can be used as an analytic device in Narrative Inquiry.

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