Academic journal article The Qualitative Report

Provisions of Trustworthiness in Critical Narrative Research: Bridging Intersubjectivity and Fidelity

Academic journal article The Qualitative Report

Provisions of Trustworthiness in Critical Narrative Research: Bridging Intersubjectivity and Fidelity

Article excerpt

This paper is a reflective-reflexive examination of provisions of trustworthiness in critical narrative research. The author presents her understanding of provisions of trustworthiness as a science and as an art, and blurs these boundaries as she acknowledges their tension in practice. She weaves between theory and her experience in two studies--first the study of the Texas-Spain Visiting Teachers Program and secondly the study of Amish culture and education--where the author felt a deep sense of responsibility that she maintain trustworthiness. This paper examines the provisions of trustworthiness as evidence of research accountability and shared responsibility and brings to the forefront an intersubjective understanding of fidelity that emerged through understanding participants' struggles, seeing researcher as a co-struggler for cultural-political identity, and recognizing the role of politics in the work of action research for democratic education. In short, the author presents an intersubjective understanding of fidelity issues within multiple identities. Key words: Provisions of Trustworthiness, Fidelity, Intersubjectivity, Narrative Methods, and Critical Ethnography

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Teresa Perez: I'm in the two-way immersion model. Two-way immersion means that the kids, Spanish speakers and English speakers, are mixed together in a classroom. My partner and I had 44 kids mixed. In my homeroom I used to have Spanish speakers and English speakers, and my partner had Spanish speakers and English speakers. I think that's the perfect model. I don't know why, but it was changed. I think an English-speaking parent complained about the kids being mixed, English speakers and Spanish speakers. They want all the Spanish speakers in one class and all the English speakers in another class. I think that after the program was already created, someone complained and 44 kids were changed. Is that fair? Is that racism? Is that power? It means benefit for one and not for the others. English-speaking parents want their children to learn both languages, but they don't want them mixed physically. That's why my homeroom is now made up of only Spanish speakers, and my partner has English speakers with some Spanish speakers because there were too many to put all of them in my homeroom. That change in the program was made two or three weeks after school started. I don't want to say that all English-speaking parents feel the same, but at least one does. (Moss, 2001, p. 172)

Teresa Perez is the pseudonym for one of the participants in a study of the Texas-Spain Visiting Teachers Program I conducted for my dissertation work in 2001. Teresa, a teacher, who came from Spain to teach in a dual-language program in East Texas, resigned at the end of the school year after participating in my study. When she signed up to participate in a cultural exchange program, she believed that she would share her teaching expertise and learn from teachers in the United States. In practice, she soon realized that the program was being used as a means to recruit bilingual teachers from Spain to fill a teaching shortage in Texas.

The following fall, I accepted a university teaching position in the Midwest, where I prepare secondary classroom teachers. In May of 2002, I met Henry, an Amish middle school teacher. He, one of my university colleagues, and I collaborated in a critical analysis of research about the Amish and in a narrative analysis of Amish life and experiences (Zehr, Moss, & Nichols, 2002a). The following is Henry's voice in our unpublished manuscript (Zehr, Moss, & Nichols, 2002b).

   The economy has changed and that has had an impact on the Amish
   society as a whole. Amish views and their outlook on things have
   dramatically changed compared to agriculture or an agriculture-based
   community that existed many years ago. There is a trend toward
   modernization, and our homes are a good example. … 
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