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Keywords:

  • narrative inquiry;
  • relational methodology;
  • Aboriginal knowledge;
  • diabetes;
  • narrative analysis;
  • story;
  • culturally competent scholarship;
  • nursing

Background.  This methodology utilizes narrative analysis and the elicitation of life stories as understood through dimensions of interaction, continuity, and situation. It is congruent with Aboriginal epistemology formulated by oral narratives through representation, connection, storytelling and art. Needed for culturally competent scholarship is an experience of research whereby inquiry into epiphanies, ritual, routines, metaphors and everyday experience creates a process of reflexive thinking for multiple ways of knowing. Based on the sharing of perspectives, narrative inquiry allows for experimentation into creating new forms of knowledge by contextualizing diabetes from the experience of a researcher overlapped with experiences of participants – a reflective practice in itself.

Aim.  The aim of this paper is to present narrative inquiry as a relational methodology and to analyse critically its appropriateness as an innovative research approach for exploring Aboriginal people's experience living with diabetes.

Nursing application.  Narrative inquiry represents an alternative culture of research for nursing science to generate understanding and explanation of Aboriginal people's ‘diabetic self’ stories, and to coax open a window for co-constructing a narrative about diabetes as a chronic illness. The ability to adapt a methodology for use in a cultural context, preserve the perspectives of Aboriginal peoples, maintain the holistic nature of social problems, and value co-participation in respectful ways are strengths of an inquiry partial to a responsive and embodied scholarship.