Fidelity as a criterion for practicing and evaluating narrative inquiry

Donald Blumenfeld-Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


“Fidelity” is presented as a criterion for practicing and evaluating narrative inquiry, linking narrative inquiry to both social science and art. “Fidelity” is contrasted with “truth” and characterized as moral in character. “Fidelity” is further characterized as a “betweenness,” construed as both intersubjective (obligations between teller and receiver) and as a resonance between the story told and the social and cultural context of a story. Storytelling as an arena of purposeful reconstruction of events on the part of both the teller and the narrative inquirer links narrative inquiry to art making. Using Ricoeur’s work on emplotment and Langer’s work in aesthetic philosophy, a criterion of “believability” is established. The narrative is believable when it can be credited with conveying, convincingly, that the events occurred and were felt in ways the narrator is asserting. Dilemmas with achieving “fidelity” and aesthetics in narrative inquiry are investigated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)25-35
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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