The Subjectivity Problem: Improving Triangulation Approaches in Metaphor Analysis Studies

  • Sonya L. Armstrong Northern Illinois University
  • Hope Smith Davis Department of Secondary Education and Foundations of Education Indiana University South Bend
  • Eric J. Paulson Department of Curriculum and Instruction Texas State University-San Marco

Abstract

Metaphor analysis procedures for uncovering participant conceptualizations have been well-established in qualitative research settings since the early 1980s; however, one common criticism of metaphor analysis is the trustworthiness of the findings. Namely, accurate determination of the conceptual metaphors held by participants based on the investigation of linguistic metaphors has been identified as a methodological issue because of the subjectivity involved in the interpretation; that is, because they are necessarily situated in specific social and cultural milieus, meanings of particular metaphors are not universally constructed nor understood. In light of these critiques, this article provides examples of two different triangulation methods that can be employed to supplement the trustworthiness of the findings when metaphor analysis methodologies are used.

Author Biographies

Sonya L. Armstrong, Northern Illinois University
Sonya L. Armstrong is an Assistant Professor of Postsecondary Literacy in the Department of Literacy Education. She is also Director of the College Learning Enhancement Program.
Eric J. Paulson, Department of Curriculum and Instruction Texas State University-San Marco
Department of Curriculum and Instruction Texas State University-San Marcos, United States
Published
2011-06-28
Section
Articles