Telling the story

The research of Golden-Biddle and Locke (1997, cited in Bryman, 2008) identified that the most effective research articles ‘tell a story’ that engages the reader. Thomas (2009) explores the approach adopted by Jerome Bruner to structuring writing as a story as establishing the ‘trouble’ in a story. This concept of ‘trouble’ refers to identifying an interesting issue around which to build the discussion. This issue will then form the basis of the rationale for doing your research and your dissertation will focus on exploring the issue further. It is therefore important for you to write your research from the viewpoint of developing a story, and your writing should be structured with this aim in mind. Thomas (2009) identifies a principle identified by Bruner that the ‘trouble’ in the story needs to be established, in other words alternative viewpoints that need to be explored further. I have found this to be particularly significant and useful in my own writing. The excerpt below establishes the ‘trouble’ in a story about the role of a constructivist approach in supporting learning.