Storytelling, narrative inquiry, health inequities and health outcomes

Posted on June 5, 2013 by

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These four “topics” do not often appear in the same context together, but that is exactly what authors Nicole Y. Pitre, PhD, RN; Kaysi E. Kushner, PhD, RN; Kim D. Raine, PhD and Kathy M. Hegadoren, PhD, RN have accomplished in their featured article titled “Critical Feminist Narrative Inquiry: Advancing Knowledge Through Double-Hermeneutic Narrative Analysis.”  This article describes an innovative approach to research that holds great potential for creating sustainable social change that supports positive health outcomes, especially for those whose “voice” is rarely heard.  Dr. Pitre shared this message about her work:

Critical feminist narrative inquiry is a research methodology that evolved from Dr. Kaysi Kushner’s work on theoretically triangulated critical feminist grounded theory (also published in ANS in 2003). I developed this approach to narrative inquiry through my doctoral work under the supervision of Dr. Kushner and Dr. Hegadoren, and with the support of Dr. Raine, all members of my supervisory committee and co-authors of this article. I am particularly grateful to them for their guidance as I developed this method of narrative analysis. We are delighted that this article is published in ANS.

My work was inspired from my reflections on the following assertion: “Know that no one is silent though many are not heard. Work to change this” (Anonymous). Narrative inquiry is known to be a method designed to give voice to participants through the stories that they wish to share. While I found that during the interview process narrative inquiry approaches were consistent with a feminist agenda, I soon realized that existing methods of narrative analysis did not provide a foundation or strategies to examine stories from a theoretically triangulated critical feminist perspective. I concluded that current approaches did not allow for participant’s voices to be fully heard, nor did these permit an explication of the constraining and silencing social, structural, and ideological conditions and practices that shaped their experiences. This integration is the aim of critical feminist narrative inquiry.

Critical feminist narrative inquiry constitutes a means for participants’ voices to be heard and to influence social action toward change. Through critical feminist narrative inquiry, it also is possible to uncover women’s or men’s strengths, challenges, and reflexive choices and decisions as they strive to manage adverse conditions. The use of critical feminist narrative inquiry ultimately allows the researcher to reveal the conditions that create and perpetuate marginalization, vulnerability, and stigmatization and that limit agency and identity in a person’s life.

We believe that this evolving methodological innovation has the potential to support the work of nurse researchers who are dedicated to expose and to act upon health inequities and social injustice. We greatly appreciate this opportunity for dialogue and we welcome your comments and thoughts.

While this article is featured, it is available for free download!  So visit the ANS web site now!

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