Journal of Professional Nursing

Revealing Storied Lives -  Life Story Narrative Inquiry  In Nursing And Midwifery:  An Interview With Rose Mceldowney   

Pamela J. Wood, RGON, PhD, Associate Professor  Graduate School of Nursing and Midwifery,  Victoria University of Wellington   

Lynne S. Giddings, RGON, RM, PhD, Associate Professor  School of Nursing, Auckland University of Technology 


Wood, P. J., & Giddings, L. S. (2003). Revealing  storied lives - life story narrative inquiry in nursing  and midwifery: An interview with Rose McEldowney.  Nursing Praxis in New Zealand, 19(2), 4-18. 



Narrative inquiry is a methodology encompassing a range of research approaches  such as autobiography, biography, life history, oral history and life story. As nurses  and midwives engage significantly with people through stories, it is not surprising  that narrative inquiry has found a place in the repertoire of nursing and midwifery  research methodologies. This article is the tenth in a series based on interviews  with nursing and midwifery researchers, designed to offer the beginning researcher  a first-hand account of the experience of using particular methodologies. It focuses  on life story narrative inquiry as the methodology used by Rose McEldowney (RCpN,  BA, MEd, ADN) in her PhD research about the experiences of nurse educators  teaching for social change in nursing programmes in New Zealand.   

Key Words: Research methodologies, narrative inquiry, life story.   

Life story narrative inquiry   

Nurses and midwives in their everyday  working lives engage significantly with  people through stories. An  understanding of a person’s health  needs, for example, is often gained  through the stories they tell. Telling  stories is also part of practice. We  pass on stories in the oral handover  between shifts and our written  exemplars of practice often take story  form. Through these ‘narratives of  experience’ meaning is created as  stories are interpreted and reconstructed.  It is therefore not  surprising that storytelling and  narrative have found their niche in the  research methodologies used by  nurses and midwives. A range of  methodologies fall within the general  group called narrative inquiry.  Autobiography, biography, life history,  oral history and life story, for example,  all work with stories of significant  experience. These stories, often  generated through conversations  conducted by the researcher with  participants, form the narrative texts  that the researcher interprets.  Narrative inquiry is an emerging  methodology in nursing and  midwifery research. Depending on the  research interests and theoretical  positioning adopted by the researcher, 

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