Creative writing for social research

By Tracy Morison, March 2021

I no longer have any illusions of myself as a creative writer. I was disabused of this notion very early in my academic life after receiving feedback on a chapter I wrote for an interdisciplinary book. The editor was an English professor and published poet. After providing kind feedback on two drafts in which he politely encouraged me to be more expressive, he announced flatly that my writing style was ‘very soc sci’. He was not wrong. Our training as social scientists, and especially psychologists I think, rewards clarity, conciseness, and coherence (the social scientist’s holy trinity) but doesn’t foster creative expression. Yet, there are those rare (infuriating) scholars whose prose is pleasurable, provocative, and effective. It is possible, apparently!

I recently came across Helen Kara’s writing on this topic: inspiring and a good starting point for more exploring how to develop creativity. In a recent post on The research whisperer, she discusses some thoughts about using creative writing as a researcher. I am re-blogging her post this month in the hopes of generating some discussion on this issue. Please share your thoughts in the comments, on social media, or–even better–send us a blog post proposal. Here is the permalink to the post:

Creative writing for social research — The Research Whisperer

Image credit: Photo by Rafaela Biazi on Unsplash

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