"Boring, Frustrating, Impossible": Tracing the Negative Affects of Reading from Interviews to Story Circles

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  • How can you trace the negative affects of reading experiences? Reading studies research
    often relies on heroic, transformational and celebratory narratives about reading elicited
    from research participants but also co-produced by the researchers because of the methods
    employed. In this essay we begin to build a counter-narrative about reading and reading
    studies research by investigating readers’ negative emotions through an experiment with a
    different method. After revisiting our earlier work with interviews and focus groups, we
    explore how and why we designed a participatory approach that employs aspects of the
    Story Circles method (Kurtz 2014). We contend that using a creative method that
    foregrounds the co-construction of narrative and interpretation and that explicitly
    encourages narrative as a type of performance enables both researchers and participants to
    explore a fuller range of emotions about reading experiences. This method also helps us to
    actively re-negotiate the positions of researcher and research subject.

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  • Type of Item
    Article (Published)
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    Public Domain Mark 1.0