Lyon, Steve and Thurgood, Graham (2007) It’s Open to Interpretation: Telling Porkies - Narrating and Rewriting Life History and the Use of Dramatic License. In: Narrative and Memory. University of Huddersfield, Huddersfield, pp. 43-52.

This paper provides some personal reflections on issues relating to how people
tell their life stories and interpret their past experiences, and how nurse
teachers and researchers may interpret and use these narratives.
This is a discussion of whether tales appearing on paper and told in the
classroom are ever truthful accounts and the extent to which they may be
manipulated for maximum effect considered. In a world fed on super graphics
and sound bites; what hope the subtle story teller. When ‘King Kong’ is
preferred over “Brokeback Mountain” the temptation to dramatise looms large.
Examples of the use of dramatic license from both the narrators and researchers
view point are provided. An exploration of why stories may be dramatised, and
some of the legal and ethical dilemmas that surface for anyone who is
representing the life stories of others either on paper or in the classroom are
There is discussion of whether it is ever justified to fabricate life stories in
order to best secure the ear of an audience and particularly in relation to when
the life story is not ones own, but belongs to another. The purpose of
‘stretching the truth’ is explored and its methodological implications for the
researcher considered.

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