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An exploration of the use of stories in research and organising a conference

By John P. Mendy and Martha Vahl


The academic interest in stories and narratives that started a couple of decades ago is still\ud continuing. We wonder how the resulting ‘story of stories’ (or narratives) has been\ud researched and if any progress has been made. There still is no doubt about the tremendous\ud effects of stories and storytelling in daily life, helping to construct and sustain individual’s\ud identity and their communities. Examples of powerful stories include ‘the\ud American Dream’, the Finnish Kalevala, the Bible and other works.What we consider significant\ud is that these stories are not the product of scientific endeavour. They developed in\ud daily life, though often a life in which there was a need to counteract imposed authority\ud (scientific or political).\ud We are interested in the relation between stories and storytelling and research. Is it possible\ud for the latter to support the former, e.g. by increasing the quality of stories, and if so,\ud what tools are needed to do so? Will it prove impossible to go beyond the collecting (and\ud telling of stories)? If the latter, storytelling will not go beyond the present research ‘tradition’.\ud In this paper we aim to find answers to the former question, and hence to search for\ud further possibilities to bring stories into the domain of systematic search.\ud A distinction will be made between disengaged and engaged scientific research and how\ud this affects our knowledge and ability to support stories scientifically. It will be argued\ud that not all forms of engaged research are helpful to this end.Yet they help to clarify the\ud scientific problem and the magic or power of stories and storytelling. An example of a\ud story that made this conference possible is presented

Topics: X210 Research skills, N100 Business studies
Publisher: Systeemgroep Nederland
Year: 2007
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