ED 816: Reading Log #2

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Text: Engaging in Narrative Inquiry by D. Jean Clandinin

Chapter 2: Designing and Living Out a Narrative Inquiry

Brief Overview of Chapter: 

  • Four key terms in narrative inquiry: living, telling, retelling, and reliving
  • The significance of the relationships in a narrative inquiry
  • 3 justifications: personal, practical, social
  • Phenomenon – people’s experiences are essential in narrative inquiry
  • 3 common places of narrative inquiry: temporality, sociality, and place
  •  considerations in a narrative inquiry research design: puzzle; being in the midst; field and field texts; interim research texts; final research texts; ongoing relationships in narrative inquiry; where a narrative inquiry is positioned

Key Words: narrative inquiry, living, telling, retelling, reliving, restory, personal, practical, social, relationships, phenomenon, temporality, sociality, place, explore, puzzle, midst, field, research, experience, change


Related quotes:

  1. “As the storyteller weaves his tale, there are elements of description and analysis: the storyteller describes events and experiences, but also analyzes this experience. The stories are reflected upon and critically examined, and they are brought to life by being integrated into the experience of the storyteller and the audience” (McLeod, 2013, p. 7).
  2. “If wisdom sits in places, then perhaps the landscapes and places…had something to teach…” (Chambers, 2006. p. 32).
  3. “It is likely these questions will lead to still more questions. That’s okay. The opening of crisis can lead to altered readings of our academic work” (Brogden, 2010, p. 375).

Recommended related readings: 

  1. Cree Narrative Memory: From Treaties to Contemporary Times by Neal McLeod (Book) – a great read from the Indigenous perspective of narrative
  2. Identities (Academic + Private) = Subjectivities (desire): Re:collecting Art*I/f/acts by Lace Marie Brogden (Journal article) – great read about artifacts in research
  3. “The land is the best teacher I have ever had”: Places as pedagogy for precarious times by Cynthia Chambers (Journal article) – great read about place and curriculum


  1. Obviously, the question of keeping ethical boundaries in relationships when becoming so personal? What should I be careful of without hindering the growing relationships with my participants?
  2. How do I prepare myself to not become discouraged if my research changes along with my story and the stories of participants?
  3. Do all puzzles actually get solved? Do any remain unsolved in a final research text?


  1. I will “restory” myself – love this metaphor. p. 34.
  2. Narrative inquiry as a “puzzle” p. 36 – another great metaphor.
  3. “We begin in the midst, and end in the midst, of experience” (p. 43). – really shows me who and where I am as the researcher.
  4. “…we begin to shape time, places, and spaces where we come together and negotiate ways of being together and ways of giving accounts of our work together” (p. 44). – initial thought was when reading this – how would society be different if everyone looked at doing this in all places of life?

My synthesis of article (with educational perspectives): As a graduate student who has recently decided to transfer to thesis route from course route, I found this chapter almost overwhelming but also insightful. I am most likely pursuing a narrative inquiry for my research and the task seems daunting as I will have to not only gain trust but have trust. My story is not always an easy one to share and the topic I will be pursuing will bring out my own personal questions and frustrations along with the same and different questions and frustrations from the people I am working with. The idea of living, telling, retelling and reliving seems simple – but in a narrative inquiry. Retelling and reliving could bring many unwanted memories or stories one does not want to share. It may bring up new questions for myself that I did not even consider and may change my whole study.

I did not realize how much work goes into justifying our research as well. I feel as an educator I am justifying myself so much. As an individual, I must justify my personal life to make sure I am a positive role model and it doesn’t affect my institutional life. Recently in Saskatchewan media, we have learned the government is falling short of supporting teachers. I find myself trying to justify to family, friends, communities – society in general – why this is not beneficial for our future. Yet, I am asked to justify our summers off and the days off…

In research, Clandinin talks about 3 types of justification: personal, practical, and social. As someone who loves structure and organization, I will need to allow myself the freedom in knowing my research may change what I set out to accomplishment personally. I will not be the same person I was before I finish. I will have to be comfortable enough to allow myself to open up to my participants while still following ethical research protocol. I have to understand that the task will never really be finished even after my thesis is complete. What I learn and what I share will go on with myself and my participants.  I will have always have ongoing learning.

The 3 commonplaces were intriguing for me as well. Clandinin listed the three as temporality, sociality, and place. I have previously read a lot of articles by Cynthia Chambers. I identified with her desire to learn from our “place”. By focusing my research and even my curriculum with the idea of place, I think my work as an educator and researcher will hold more value for myself, for my students, for my research participants, and anyone else that may be affected by me as a teacher and researcher.

I appreciated how Clandinin broke down a narrative research and this will help me immensely in my process of my thesis. I will begin with a puzzle that I am looking for answers. This puzzle will lead me to find people whose lives will come together with me in search of learning, listening, and telling stories. From here, the rest will come together, field and field texts, research texts – it will not go as I envision it from the begin but what I should come out with is something that helps not only me, but the participants as well. With emphasis on Indigenous methodologies, Kovach also expressed that qualitative research should be done in “a way to interpret knowledge so as to give back in a purposeful, helpful, and relevant manner” (Kovach, 2012, p. 44).

I will begin by applying these values throughout this course, but I also find use of them within my role as a teacher.

My “story” in all different levels (cultural, personal, and institutional) continues to unfold and to change…


Brogden, L.M. Identities (Academic + Private) = Subjectivities (desire): Re:collecting Art*I/f/acts. (2010). Sage Publications, 16 (5), p. 368-377. DOI: 10.1177/107780041036-4354.

Chambers, C. (2006). “The land is the best teacher I have ever had”: Places as pedagogy for precarious times. Journal of Curriculum Theorizing. 

Clandinin, D. J. (2016). Engaging in narrative inquiry. New York, New York: Routledge.

Kovach, M. (2012). Indigenous methodologies: Characteristics, conversations, and contexts. Toronto, Ontario: University of Toronto Press Incorporated.

McLeod, N. (2013). Cree narrative memory: From Treaties to contemporary times. Saskatoon, SK: Purich Publishing Ltd.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s