Narrative Non-Fiction Research and University Ethics Practices

By Josie Arnold.

Published by The Humanities Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

At the formal University level of the Ethics Committee, there seems to be a confusion about the ethical considerations and implications of ‘narrative non-fiction’ and ‘the literature of self’. This paper will look at that confusion and try to suggest some ways through it, as well as some causes for it. Taking into account the PhD model of artefact and exegesis, this paper looks at the ethical questions inherent in writing one’s own story as qualitative research involving creative non-fiction and/or an exegesis about oneself as a writer. It proposes such writing as family and local history, narrative non-fiction, autobiography, biography, poetry, film-scripting, drama and self-as-data has its own ethical dimensions as a research domain. In relationship to forming an understanding of this, it investigates some aspects of the postmodernist views of story-telling as research. It proposes that postmodernist theories about textuality and discourse advance the thinking about (and practice of) the traditional and patriarchal linear analytico-referential knowledge-model being overtaken by lateral postparadigmatic discourse. This conceptual framework involves storytelling and the pastiche of the dispersal of certainties in considering the practice of writing and/or production of an artefact. The aim of this paper is to enable tired research paradigms and debates to be short-circuited by the acceptance of difference. This means the production of new discourse models as well as new content. It also means a new and more open approach to ethics clearances within the university.

Keywords: Ethics, Qualitative Research, Narrative Non-fiction, New Discourse Models of Knowledge

International Journal of the Humanities, Volume 7, Issue 2, pp.73-88. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.247MB).

Prof. Josie Arnold

Professor of Writing, Faculty of Business, Communication and Society, Swinburne University of Technology, Lilydale, Victoria, Australia

The Professor of Writing since 2004, I am a well-published writer and educator. I have over 50 books in a variety of genres from educational to poetry and film. Since 2002, I have instituted a Master of Arts (Writing) and a PhD by artefact and exegesis for the University. My theoretical interests lie in a postmodernist-feminist dispersal of certainties. I am developing a subjective academic narrative as the basis for my research and academic writing.


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