A Sting in the Tale: The Use of Anecdote as a Research Tool

Year: 2000

Author: MCGILL, M

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Narrative, teacher stories and critical incidents have been used for a number of years as research tools to access memories and reflections on experiences as learners and teachers. Anecdote, a specific form of story writing, is another 'tool' in this genre of narrative writing which can be used to spotlight, magnify and explore events and their meaning in teachers' lives.

This paper describes research in progress in the use of anecdote as a means of accessing and using the reflective process by beginning, up-grading and post-graduate students in the Faculty of Education at the University of Tasmania.

But why the use of anecdote? This form of narrative is used in preference to writing stories or critical incidents because of the very specific 'grammar' ie key features, their brevity, immediacy and personal perspective, and the requirement of the punch line: the sting in the tale.