This assignment will give you a chance to try out some of Pavlenko's recommendations for narrative inquiry. You have a few options for gathering narratives in terms of source material, but all will be analyzed by attending to issues of Context, Content, and Form:
You need to find a way to collect some narrative data. You may use data that you have already collected, such as interviews, blogs, or internet chats. Other sources include published autobiographies and diaries kept by learners (including yourself).
How much is enough?
For this project, you will need to limit your data to no more than the equivalent of 2 pages of paper, single spaced. If you have already collected data, chances are you have too much already. If you are starting anew, you will need to collect more than 2 pages initially so that you can narrow your focus as you go. In terms of an interview, aim for 30 minutes. If you are soliciting written text, aim for approximately 10 pages of text data that you will later sort through. You are free to select excerpts of narratives to include in your mini study that add up to about 2 pages of paper.
Once you have your data, you will need to consider and research the following 3 issues. For your write-up, you will have to attend to at least 2 of these areas (e.g., context and content; content and form; form and context). You can leave one of the areas out, but you will need 2-3 sentences that explain your reasoning:
1. Context: How does the larger macrocontext inform the meanings of your data? How does the microcontext of the data collection, your positionality as a researcher, the language used to elicit the narrative, etc. add to the meanings of the data?
2. Content: How does your theoretical framework, paradigm, epistemology, and researcher identity alter the meanings of the data and the interpretive act? What themes do you notice in the data, and why do you think you noticed them? Remember that these are the 'whats' of your data. What did you find out? What about your particular worldview or theoretical grounding allows you to 'see' these themes so clearly?
3. Form: Explain how you went about analyzing the content and context. What structure did you employ to make sense of the 'whats' in the data? Describe the 'hows' in as much detail as possible.
Writing it up
For the due date, include the following in a folder:
1. 5 page report, addressing the above concerns in regard to your data analysis of narrative(s)
2. Appendix (2 pages of narrative data)