Narrative, Knowing, and Emerging Methodologies in Environmental Education Research: Issues of Quality

Paul Hart


Within the context of an educational research community that now seems prepared to take narrative forms of representing human experience seriously, this paper addresses issues of quality within such inquiries, as applied to research in environmental education. At issue here is not whether we shall have criteria but what might be the basis for criteria within a transformed social inquiry. Grounded in studies of teacher thinking and practice in Canadian elementary schools, the paper traces the debates about issues of quality in qualitative inquiry through the language of positivist, interpretivist, criticalist and postmodernist notions of representation and legitimation. Ultimately, narrative methodologies pull us away from foundational criteria toward more situated local community perspectives; conversations about moral, ethical, and critical consciousness and social critique that connect personal to social to environmental dimensions of discourse practices.

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