Handbook of Qualitative Research in Education
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Handbook of Qualitative Research in Education

Edited by Sara Delamont

The Handbook of Qualitative Research in Education offers both basic and advanced discussions of data collection, analysis and representation of all the best qualitative methods used in educational research.
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Chapter 43: The Literary Turn: Fictions and Poetry

Pat Sikes


Pat Sikes INTRODUCTION My relationship with educational research writing began on Monday, 23 September 1974 when I was handed a Required and Recommended Research Reading List at the start of a Certificate of Education course at Doncaster College of Education. As is the case for most people, I was a consumer before I became a producer and, inevitably, what I have read over the years since I received that list has influenced and had implications for my own writing. Today, as I begin work on this chapter, it’s 2 September 2010. As I try to order my thoughts, or more precisely, as I start exploring and articulating my understandings via a writing process which is consciously and explicitly also a method of inquiry (Richardson, 1994), I reflect on how different research reporting/re-presenting/writing can be now compared with how it usually was even as relatively recently as 20 years ago, let alone back in 1974. Indeed, as a supervisor and examiner of doctoral and masters students I have to confess to a degree of jealousy with regard to the variety of forms of social science writing and representation that are permissible and accepted as legitimate these days (see Richardson, 1997a, 1998; Denzin and Lincoln, 2005). It certainly seems that there are so many options available which potentially, at least, offer greater possibilities for more closely capturing, describing and evoking the social experiences and phenomena that are the focus of our research. In this chapter, however, I want to narrow the field...

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