This paper seeks to explore Critical Narrative Analysis (CNA) and Critical Participatory Action Research (CPAR) as valuable methodologies in research for their potential to challenge the inherent absoluteness of master narratives through the personal and counter-narratives of research participants, while also providing participants an action-oriented emancipatory opportunity to lead the change needed in their organizations, communities and society at large.

Citing a previous study which explored how patriarchal, colonially-structured master narratives have played a significant role in reproducing the limited views which dominate American understanding of working mothers, the author will demonstrate how CNA and CPAR combined can expose how these master narratives have been particularly damaging to working, mothers of color. Additionally, the CNA and CPAR approach allowed for the participating women of color to analyze their own personal experiences as well as provide a societal analysis that advocates for broader social change through the transformational action of the women themselves.

Finally, the author makes the case for the potential of a combined CNA and CPAR approach across other content areas beyond mothering and work. Thus, by creating research that is centered on the specific lived experiences of our participants, we can support the development of critical consciousness, the self-reflection of others while also creating meaningful change that can inform our communities, organizations and society. This approach also has the capacity to create space for diverse perspectives to be included in knowledge and meaning making, which has invaluable implications in scholarship, research, practice and policy.

Author Biography

Northern Kentucky University, USA dillardn1@nku.edu.