Scrapbooks and messy texts

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In this reflective piece we draw directly on our experience of teaching a variety of methodological approaches to narrative inquiry at doctoral level. We take a tentative approach in which we draw out temporal, contextual and relational threads of what it may mean to be doing narrative inquiry. This deliberate lack of fixedness and engagement with messiness in our approach displays our intention to develop and promote artful inquiries in which we are mindful of how aesthetic, ethical and personal responses both shape and are shaped by our explorations. We draw on examples and images of our students' work as well as our own to illustrate aspects of the nomadic journey we venture on and the texts of the field we make. Excerpts of discussion between us are woven into our account to voice dialogically our agreement and difference and show the manner in which inquirers usefully bump up against each other as we collaborate. There are times in my life to which I return like a cat scratching, licking, worrying at an old sore, a long since exterminated nest of fleas behind my ear I am sure that if I keep poking and rubbing that old itch will finally be quelled. (Piercy 1983, p. 30)


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