Emerging narrative forms of knowledge representation in the health sciences: Two texts in a postmodern context

Tineke A. Abma

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Qualitative health researchers have recently begun to experiment with narrative forms of knowledge representation, often incorporating postmodern theory and related constructivist epistemology. However, misunderstanding of these ideas may lead to rejection of, or lack of interest in, these unconventional texts, which in turn might impede the use of narrative forms in the health sciences. The author's aim is to "open up" the provocative domain of ideas about knowledge representation and explain how the forms operate. Two texts are described with respect to narrative plotting, author's stance, character building, voices, and rhetorical tropes: Troubling the Angels, Patti Lather and Chris Smithies's account of support groups for women living with HIV/AIDS, and The Social Meaning of Surgery, Nicolas Fox's description and sociological analysis of daily life in the operating theater. Other examples of emerging forms are integrated and made relevant to the substantive texts chosen for analysis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-27
Number of pages23
JournalQualitative Health Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2002

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