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Authoring: Telling a Research Story

Researchers write accounts of “what happened” when they conduct research. Typically taking the form of reports suitable for publication in an academic journal or as a chapter in an edited research collection centered on a particular theory or topic, these accounts are neither transparent nor self-evident truths. Instead, researchers author research accounts in a complex process that can be productively framed as storytelling or composing a narrative about research inquiry. Regardless of where researchers situate themselves on the methodological continuum—ranging from positivist science at one end, through qualitative and interpretive social science, to artistic, impressionist representations of lived experience at the other end—all research stories reflect and construct cultural meanings, describe why and how the inquiry was conducted, and suggest what value the outcomes may ...

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