Data generation and participant engagement

I’ve been contacting various individuals through different channels in my network to ask if they would like to be part of my PhD research.   It’s been absolutely fascinating reading the responses.  I found that many of those that I’ve contacted initially show some interest in the topic of my research. However it is when they’ve read my story that their interest is piqued and they being to really show their enthusiasm to get involved and tell their story.

There is something about reading (or hearing) an individual’s story that give that human element to my research.  On an intellectual level of course I understand that this study deals with people.  But amidst the forms and reports that basic touch of humanity gets lost.  The narrative turn is well and truly ingrained in our nature as humans.  We’re born storytellers.  The more I continue to work with participants in this study, the more I’ve come to realise just how telling stories is something that we do naturally, everyday, without thinking.  I find that my awareness is made more acute since I’m actively using a narrative approach to stories of experience as a methodological approach.

Conversely the fact that my story is used makes me wonder if my participants themselves have begun to see me more as a real person rather than some unknown stranger.  It’s not that I’m looking for friendship but rather a connection, an awareness that there is a living and breather person behind that paper that they’re reading.  That I’m reading.  A person that has told that story and is willing to listen to them.  To me.


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