Source: Educational Action Research, Volume 18, Issue 3, p. 389 – 400. (September 2010).
The nature of participants' experience in practitioner research is often taken for granted, and its more tacit dimensions overlooked. Poetic expression is valuable in surfacing these tacit dimensions, enabling the researcher to engage with them more consciously and draw on them to strengthen the research.
To illustrate, the author draws on her own poetically expressive writing relating to the experience of leading an action research project - a text entitled A Gossamer Thread.
The author describes how she came to write in this way, and draws on the poet Robert Frost's account of 'the figure a poem makes' to show how the writing arises from within experience and is able to clarify its meaning. This process is linked to an understanding of Dewey's concept of integral experience.
Ways in which poetic expression may contribute to practitioner research are discussed, exploring how the vitality of poetic expression can energise research and how writing poetically emphasises receptivity, stepping back from assumptions and opening up to possibility.