This paper articulates the findings of a two-year Canadian federally-funded postdoctoral study — Poetic inquiry in qualitative research: A critical survey — on the use of poetry in social science qualitative research practices. Based on a 1000+ page annotated bibliography gathered into a critical anthology as the data for this project, the discoveries emerged that are expressed below. The bibliography consists solely of poems included in over 230 studies found for this multidisciplinary project, supported by abstracts and brief contextual notes. Selection criteria for included studies were peer-reviewed journal contributions only, bracketing out anything that had appeared in book form, in ‘Poet's Corners’, and also excluding poems appearing in theses or dissertations. Some of these excluded poems are cited in a separate Appendix. These criteria were made simply to limit the scope of the study to a manageable scale. Most of this poetically-informed scholarship has appeared in the past decade, although some entries date as far back as the 1970's and 80's. Conclusions are that poetic inquiry most often addresses topics with clear affective dimensions, and can be distinguished between participant-based and self-study foci, with occasional examples of theoretical studies. Participant-based studies generally draw on the literary tradition of found poetry to represent participant data. Self-studies may address more philosophical, phenomenological and/or poststucturalist opportunities that present themselves through the use of poetry in social science contexts.
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