Multicontextuality in Narrative Inquiry


    loading  Checking for direct PDF access through Ovid

Abstract

Narrative inquiry is a flexible mode of investigation focused on how narrators construct meaning from their experiences. In recent decades, researchers have developed approaches aimed at illuminating distinct dimensions of constructed meanings that shine light on particular contexts of narration (e.g., personal, interpersonal, sociohistorical, intrapsychic). Grounded in the notion that narrative approaches are conducive to a broad range of purposes, that distinct forms of narrative analysis illuminate and conceal specific features of meaning construction, and that multiple narrative approaches can be used in a complementary fashion, I sought to iteratively explore the multicontextuality of the experiential accounts of teachers navigating the enactment of a newly introduced individualized consequential accountability program in their schools. Because the introduction of this program signified a historic shift for educators in the United States by altering the landscape of education policy, transforming the nature of the teacher–student relationship, and striking at long-shared beliefs about the meaning of teaching, I aimed to investigate the teachers’ accounts in a way that did justice to the importance and complexity of their narratives. To do so, I developed a multicontextual approach to narrative inquiry in which I systematically drew from, built upon, and wove together findings from 4 complimentary analyses to illuminate and convey the complexity of the teachers’ experiences, constructed meanings, and meaning-construction processes. In this article, I articulate the theoretical and methodological foundations of this approach, summarize and synthesize findings from each analysis, and in so doing, demonstrate the utility of taking a multicontextual approach to narrative inquiry.

    loading  Loading Related Articles