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The ‘Retelling’ of Stories Through Sense-Making of Data

  • Alice BrownEmail author
Chapter
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Education Research Methods book series (PSERM)

Abstract

Making sense of qualitative data can sometimes be overwhelming, as there is great complexity in understanding and gaining insights into a phenomenon, and the shared stories of others. Yet, if researching with young families is about the ‘retelling’ of these stories, as much as it is about dialogical processes of engagement, and the collecting of narratives, then we need to seek out and embrace methods of analysis that are well-respected, innovative, and efficient. This process requires a fine balancing of agendas and goals associated with inquiry, whilst also balancing efforts to be authentic, and to honour the intent, perspectives, and artefacts shared by others.

This chapter addresses the role of the storyteller. ‘Stories’ being loosely referred to as the narratives and other forms of data that help to create a picture of the lived experiences and environments of participants. Discussion is directed towards factors that will impact on researcher decision-making regarding the analysis, and ‘retelling’ of participant stories. This includes the influence of paradigms adopted by the researcher, as well as of the positionality of participants. Attention is then directed to the importance of considering what stories to tell and to privilege, and the factors that underpin these decisions.

Appreciating that data encompass a range of forms and serve multiple purposes, a series of questions guide the reader through a range of frameworks and processes that support analysis. Each analytic approach is effective in its own right in helping to make sense of data, with each tool, or analytical method, supporting us in privileging the stories of others. The chapter concludes by circling back to participant stories, and considering our role through the lens of being ‘custodians of the story’. Readers are invited to consider what this role might look like, and include how might our role as custodians reflect the decolonising nature of our research sites, such as the domestic spaces of young families and where they move and live, and how might our role as custodians of ‘the story’ reflect humanising components and responsibilities.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Business, Education, Law and ArtsUniversity of Southern QueenslandSpringfield CentralAustralia

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