Integrating Rigor and Relevance in Public Administration Scholarship: The Contribution of Narrative Inquiry

Dodge, J., Ospina, S. & Foldy, E.G.
Public Administration Review, Vol. 65, May/June, No.3, pp. 286.

A traditional view of scholarly quality defines rigor as the application of method and assumes an implicit connection with relevance. But as an applied field, public administration requires explicit attention to both rigor and relevance. Interpretive scholars' notions of rigor demand an explicit inclusion of relevance as an integral aspect of quality. As one form of interpretive research, narrative inquiry illuminates how this can be done. Appreciating this contribution requires a deeper knowledge of the logic of narrative inquiry, an acknowledgement of the diversity of narrative approaches, and attention to the implications for judging its quality. We use our story about community-based leadership research to develop and illustrate this argument.