Being Brave: Writing Environmental Education Research Texts


  • Heila Lotz-Sisitka Rhodes University, South Africa
  • Jane Burt Rhodes University, South Africa


The heroine came back from her very important quest and sat down to write a thesis ... While mythical journeys do not always end this way, the stories have to be told. The work of telling the story in the hero's journey is often left untold. This paper explores some of the headwork that goes into textwork (Van Manen, 1995) in environmental education research. We argue that writing is an integral part of the research process, and should not viewed as an ‘add on' or a silent, untold part of the adventure. We reflect on some of the institutional and epistemological issues associated with writing social science (in our case environmental education) research texts. Writing research is never an easy enterprise, it is bound by history and tradition, convention, institutional habit and regulation. It is also constrained by the uncertainty of the process of writing itself, by problems of power relations in research, and the difficulty of writing to represent experience rigorously and authentically while recognizing that all writing is a constructed symbolic representation of experience. The paper reflexively reviews our attempts at ‘being brave' in the construction of our research texts.