What's in a Sign? Narrative Inquiry and Deaf Storytellers

D West

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter in a book

2 Citations (Scopus)


Narrative inquiry is growing in popularity as a research methodology in the social sciences, medicine and the humanities. One of narrative inquiry’s great strengths is that it enables readers to see transparently how interactions between researcher and research participants help to shape and structure research texts rendering them engaging and readable. While there are a growing number of texts that focus on narrative inquiry – or narrative research - what has absent until now has been a book that foregrounds the importance of the influences of the context in which the research takes place and which critiques the dominant discourses that inform narrative inquiry so that they are not applied unquestioningly, particularly in contexts that do not necessarily privilege those discourses. It is important that all researchers develop methodological approaches that are grounded in their local contexts and that pay attention to the ways in which knowledge is shared and understood in those contexts. This becomes even more important, however, when those local contexts have historically been subjugated through colonialism and when local, indigenous ways of knowing have been ignored or dismissed as worthless. The contributors to this edited collection have all used narrative inquiry in their research into a range of topics and in a range of contexts. The topics include leadership styles of Asian businesswomen, the Deaf community in the UK, voluntary celibacy in Malta, administrators in Ghanaian higher education, multiculturalism in primary education in Cyprus, teacher identities in Hong Kong and the reflective practitioner in higher education in Malaysia. The diversity of the topics indicates the potential for narrative inquiry to be used to investigate a broad range of issues in many contexts and by people with a range of backgrounds. A common thread throughout however is a reflexive discussion not only of how each contributor used narrative inquiry as a methodological approach, but also the affordances, complexities and limitations of the approach that s/he encountered in their context. In addition, each chapter will show the creativity of narrative inquiry by producing texts that are surprising and unusual and that disrupt many dominant perspectives of how a research text should be written.
Translated title of the contributionWhat's in a Sign? Narrative Inquiry and Deaf Storytellers
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationContextualising Narrative Inquiry: Developing Methodological Approaches for Local Contexts
EditorsSheila Trahar
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2013


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