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ERIC Number: ED399283
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1996-Apr
Pages: 18
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Interviews as Method or Data: Paradigmatic vs. Narrative Approaches to the Study of Returning Adult Students.
Menard, Katherine A.
A narrative, storied, or constructivist approach to the study of returning adult students is compared with an approach that is positivist, "scientific," or paradigmatic. The paradigmatic approach is an application to social science of the rules and assumptions that govern the scientific method in natural science. In the narrative approach, the rules of literature and discourse analysis are applied to the constructed renditions of events and experiences. The research reported in this paper is about the motivations and orientations of adults who considered pursuing baccalaureate degrees after a number of years away from the classroom. The problem was studied initially using a paradigmatic approach. In a later followup study, a narrative approach was used. The woman who was the subject of the latter study was one of 20 returning adult students from the paradigmatic study, 6 of whom were interviewed for the followup study. The model derived from the paradigmatic study did not really fit this woman's specific situation and the life events that caused her to postpone her return to school. The model-free narrative study yielded insight into the way she processed and reflected on her life's decisions. Results show that the choice of approach to research should be guided by the nature of the inquiry. There is room for both in the research community's repertoire. Appendixes A and B present descriptions of the study instruments, and Appendix C describes goal progress tasks. (Contains two tables and eight references.) (SLD)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A