Creating Credible, Vivid, and Persuasive Qualitative Stories: Research as Performance

An arts-based approach can enrich our understanding of how people experience their worlds. When the audiences of our research hear poems and see plays that portray the themes and meanings in our data, they witness the power of nuance and the integrated nature of qualitative findings. Our audiences become more present in our story telling and are more likely to absorb the multi-dimensional messages we convey.

Johnny Saldaña, one of the best known practitioners of this research tradition, will guide participants through improvisational and writing exercises to explore how dramatic texts add credibility and make presentations more vivid and persuasive. These skills will help researchers document and represent fieldwork ranging from education to health care.

The course will also provide a literature review of exemplary play scripts and videos in research-based theatre; methods of dramatizing field notes and adapting interview transcripts; and the developmental process of autoethnographic monologues. Throughout, Saldaña emphasizes the vital importance of creating good theatre as well as good research for impact on an audience and performers.

Key figures in qualitative inquiry, Norman Denzin and Yvonna Lincoln, endorse the arts-based research techniques outlined and supported in this course as a powerful way for ethnographers to interrogate and represent the meanings of lived experiences.

No prior theatre or performance experience is needed to participate in this workshop.