Decolonizing the Presentation of Research Findings: Amplifying Epistemic Authority Through Poetic Re-Storying
Western-centric epistemologies are often deemed to be more legitimate than non-western ones for driving academic research and knowledge production. As a result, non-western epistemologies are often colonized or silenced during the research process. Decolonizing research practices, such as robust collaboration, mutual respect, mindful listening, and co-constructed interviews offer meaningful opportunities for researchers vested in engaging in research which honors and amplifies a diversity of storied experiences and non-dominant epistemologies. This paper focuses on decolonizing research report writing through poetic re-storying and will include a rationale for and excerpts from a poetic re-storying of research findings from a narrative inquiry project with Parvana, an Afghan woman who until recently was living in Afghanistan; the narrative study is theoretically and conceptually informed by postcolonial feminist theory and the decolonization of research methods. By carefully and collaboratively crafting the research findings in poetic form using original excerpts from open-ended interviews, co-constructed interview conversations, Parvana’s written stories, conversations about artifacts, and other data sources, Parvana and I worked together to amplify and honor her epistemic authority and literacy practices. In addition to presenting the research findings in research participants’ own words, creative re-storying through poetry makes research findings accessible to academic and non-academic audiences alike while also cultivating emotional engagement and empathy.
Alexander, M.J., & Mohanty, C.T. (1997). Introduction: Genealogies, legacies, movements. In Alexander, M.J. & Mohanty, C.T. (Eds.). Feminist genealogies, colonial legacies, democratic futures (pp. xiii-xlii). Routledge.
Azar, B. (2010) Are your findings ‘WEIRD’? Monitor on Psychology: American Psychological Association, 41(5), 11.
Bruce, E.M. (2008). Narrative inquiry: A spiritual and liberating approach to research. Religious Education, 103(3), 323-338.
Byrne, G. (2017). Narrative inquiry and the problem of representation: ‘Giving voice’, making meaning. International Journal of Research & Method in Education, 40(1), 36-52, DOI: 10.1080/1743727X.2015.1034097
Chowdury, E. (2016). Development paradoxes: Feminist solidarity, alternative imaginaries, and new spaces. Journal of International Women’s Studies, 17(1), 117-132.
Cloud, D. L. (2004). “To veil the threat of terror”: Afghan women and the ‘clash of civilizations’ in the imagery of the U.S. war on terrorism. Quarterly Journal of Speech, 90(3), 285-306.
Connelly, F.M., & Clandinin, D.J. (1990). Stories of experience and narrative inquiry. American Educational Research Association, 19(5), 2-14.
Creswell, J., & Poth, C. (2018). Qualitative inquiry and research design: Choosing among five approaches. Sage Publications.
Cutts, Q. M., & Waters, M. B. S. (2019). Poetic approaches to qualitative data analysis. Education Publications, 145.
Darder, A. (2015). Decolonizing interpretive research: A critical bicultural methodology for social change. The International Education Journal: Comparative Perspectives, 14(2), 63-77.
Darder, A. (2018). Decolonizing interpretive research: Subaltern sensibilities and the politics of voice. Qualitative Research Journal, 18(2), 94-104.
Doecke, B., Anwar, D., & Illesca, B. (2017). Narrative language and literacy education: Research within a postcolonial framework. In Mirhosseini, Seyyed-Abdolhamid (Ed.), Reflections on qualitative research in language and literacy education (pp. 29-43). Springer International Publishing.
Edwards, S.L. (2015). Transforming the findings of narrative research into poetry. Nurse Researcher, 22(5), 35-39.
Falcón, S.M. (2016). Transnational feminism as a paradigm for decolonizing the practice of research: Identifying feminist principles and methodology criteria for U.S.-based scholars. Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies, 37(1), 174-194.
Faulkner, S. L. (2018). Crank up the feminism: Poetic inquiry as feminist methodology. Humanities, 7(3). https://doi.org/10.3390/h7030085
Faulkner, S. L. (2017). Poetry is politics. International Review of Qualitative Research, 10(1),89-96.
Fowler, C. (2007). Journalists in feminist clothing: Men and women reporting Afghan women during Operation Enduring Freedom, 2001. Journal of International Women’s Studies, 8(2), 4-19.
Gee, J. P. (1991). A linguistic approach to narrative. Journal of Narrative and Life History, 1(1), 15-39.
Kim, J-H. (2016). Understanding narrative inquiry: The crafting and analysis of stories as research. Sage.
Lahman, M. K. E., Richard, V. M, & Teman, E. D. (2019). ish: How to write poemish (research) poetry. Qualitative Inquiry, 25(2) 215–227.
Leavy, P. (2015). Method meets art: Arts-based research practice. The Guilford Press.
Leavy, P. & Harris, A. (2018). Contemporary feminist research from theory to practice. The Guilford Press.
Leavy, P. (2019). Handbook of arts-based research (2nd edition). The Guilford Press.
MacDonald, K. (2016). Calls for educating girls in the Third World: Futurity, girls and the ‘Third World Woman’. Gender, Place & Culture, 23(1), 1-17, DOI: 10.1080/0966369X.2014.991699
Mertova, P., & Webster, L. (2020). Using narrative inquiry as a research method: An introduction to critical event narrative analysis in research, teaching and professional practice (2nd ed.). Routledge.
Mohanty, C. T. (2003). Under Western eyes: Feminist scholarship and colonial discourses. In Feminism without borders: Decolonizing theory, practicing solidarity (pp. 18-42). Duke University Press.
Mutua, K., & Swadener, B. B. (Eds.) (2004). Decolonizing research in cross-cultural contexts: Critical personal narratives. State University of New York Press.
Norsworthy, K. (2017). Mindful activism: Embracing the complexities of international border crossings. American Psychologist, 72(9), 1035-1043.
Pinnegar, S., & Daynes J. G. (2007). Locating narrative inquiry historically: Thematics in the turn to narrative. In Clandinin, D. J. (Ed.) Handbook of narrative inquiry: Mapping a methodology. Sage.
Polkinghorne, D. E. (1995). Narrative configuration as qualitative analysis. In Hatch, J. A. & Wisniewski, R. (Eds.). Life history and narrative (pp. 5-25). Falmer Press.
Rasul, A., & McDowell, S. D. (2015). Images of oppression: An analysis of the coverage of Afghan women in Time and Newsweek after 9/11. The Journal of International Communication, 21(1), 21-37, DOI: 10.1080/13216597.2014.987798
Raymond, C. (2021). “I forgot how strong I have been”: A narrative inquiry of one Afghan woman’s storied experiences (2021). [Doctoral dissertation, Indiana University, Bloomington]. IUScholarWorks. https://hdl.handle.net/2022/26628
Riessman, C. K. (2008). Narrative methods for the human sciences. Sage.
Said, E. W. (1978) Orientalism. Pantheon Books.
Saldaña, J. (2016). The coding manual for qualitative researchers. Sage.
Saldaña, J., & Omashta, M. (2018). Qualitative research: Analyzing life. Sage.
Spivak, G. (2010). Can the subaltern speak? Reprinted in Morris, R. (Ed.). Can the subaltern speak? History of an idea. Columbia University Press.
Terman, R. (2017). Islamophobia and media portrayals of Muslim women: A computational text analysis of US news coverage. International Studies Quarterly, 61(3), 489–502.
Tuhiwai Smith, L. (2012). Decolonizing methodologies: Research and indigenous peoples. (2nd ed.). Zed Books.
Zeiger, D. (2011). Afghanistan blues: Seeing beyond the burqa on YouTube. In Heath, J., & Zahedi, A. (Eds.). Land of the unconquerable: The lives of contemporary Afghan women (pp. 86-95). University of California Press. 2011.
How to Cite
Copyright for articles published in Narrative Works is retained by the author(s), with first publication rights granted to Narrative Works. By virtue of their appearance in this open access journal, articles are free to use, with proper attribution, in educational and other non-commercial settings.