Storied approaches to understanding occupation
Occupation is a complex and multifaceted phenomenon, one that truly tests the range of research methodologies available to occupational scientists. In recent times there has been a resurgence of the use of personal stories as a research method in a wide range of disciplines and occupational scientists have begun to recognise their particular value in furthering our understanding of occupation and humans as occupational beings. There are many types of personal stories and these include life story, life history, and oral history. The boundaries between these are becoming increasingly blurred and so researchers are beginning to take a more eclectic approach to their use. There is, however, little doubt that stories are well suited to the study of occupation as they permit an exploration of personal meaning, temporality, occupational historicity, and the wider contextual dynamics that impact on occupational engagement. When combined with narrative methods of analysis, oral history provides a powerful method for making sense of what people do. Research which employs oral history and narrative analysis produces field and research texts which both further our understanding and appreciation of the occupational nature of humans and their experience of illness.
Journal of Occupational Science
Medical and Health Sciences