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Swapping stories: comparing plots: triangulating individual narratives within families

Warin, Jo and Solomon, Yvette and Lewis, Charlie (2007) Swapping stories: comparing plots: triangulating individual narratives within families. International journal of social research methodology, 10 (2). pp. 121-134. ISSN 1464-5300

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Abstract

Issues relating to the trustworthiness of research narratives are particularly relevant for those family researchers who attempt to interpret, legitimate and represent comparative accounts of family life collected from different family members within the same family unit. We discuss these issues with reference to research we have carried out with 57 family groups. In confronting the analysis that emerges from a process of comparison and combining differing perspectives we ask: whose story are we telling? This question raises deeper epistemological problems regarding the 'crisis of representation' in social research. We argue for a resolution of the crisis by the adoption of a post-positivist position in which we are clear that the emerging interpretation and representation of our disparate and complex data set is our story. Furthermore, we argue that we need to incorporate ourselves within our emerging narrative, bringing a 'strong objectivity' (Harding, 1993) to bear on our interpretation.

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