Such an approach resists analytic methods that are “firmly rooted in empiricism,…mathematical warrants, and positivism” (p. 29) and that “refer to a reality discovered” (p. 29). In explaining the value of autoethnographic literacy narratives, Brodkey (1987) observes that personal narratives provide “both a warrant to observe everyday lives and a warning to treat conclusions drawn as necessarily contingent” (p. 26).

This brief history should not suggest, however, that concerns about narrative inquiry and autobiographical narratives have disappeared. In 2001, Deborah Brandt, Ellen Cushman, Anne Ruggles Gere, Anne Herrington, Richard Miller, Victor Villanueva, Min-Zhan Lu, and Gesa Kirsch published a collective examination of the political issues associated with such work. Kirsch and Lu, in introducing this collaboratively authored article, note that “expectations to story our lives within the personal narrative have often led us to dismiss the oppositional political content and potential of a whole range of other ways of living and (not) narrating the personal” (p. 42). Richard Miller cautions that, in discussing the value of autobiographic literacy narratives, “We can learn about the writer's ways of organizing information, about the movement of the mind across the page. What we cannot learn—and can never know—is the degree to which the writer is being truthful, honest, or sincere” (p. 60).

In another critical examination of narrative as a research tool, also in 2001, Candace Speigleman expresses her own concerns with regard to the validity claims of narrative inquiry—cautioning against using “uninterrogated and unevaluated” narratives as evidence.

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When all is said and done, the personal narrative is not problematic because of the limits of judgment to its validity claims; it is problematic because the uninterrogated and unevaluated personal narrative is seductive and, consequently, dangerous. As with all serious research, scholars are obligated to evaluate and to test narrative methods and findings.

We will need to devise measures and means of analysis to evaluate claims derived from personal experience just as we have devised evaluative tools for other kinds of arguments. And because the use of the personal is within the domain of the rational, because narrative is indeed a way of thinking and a way of reasoning that has been in our human repertoire since earliest times, we should certainly be able to see that, although its form is not transparent, narrative too offers claims, reasons and evidence for serious analysis and critique.

(Speigleman, 2001, p. 83).