The purpose of this article is to underscore the issues of empathy in narrative inquiry, particularly in cases where the researcher shares numerous characteristics in common with the research population. The author explores the use of narrative as a qualitative research tool, as well as a means for addressing the challenges of maintaining objectivity in circumstances where empathy and understanding may overpower the need for unbiased reporting.
This narrative case study, which is based on the author's doctoral research, was designed according to a framework of critical theory, as the original intent of the project was to expose the challenges and injustices faced by Turkish study‐abroad scholarship recipients who are required to serve as university faculty members in the Turkish university system upon completion of their graduate degrees.
The researcher found that, in opposition to his belief that government‐sponsored scholars were able to contribute significantly to higher education, the strict hierarchy and bureaucratic nature of the Turkish university system prevented them from accomplishing their objectives.
This study is unique in that it is the only qualitative investigation which relates the personal narratives of Turkish faculty members who, at the same time they are charged with bringing innovation to a stagnating system, are deterred by that same system from achieving this aim. As such, it serves to advocate for this marginalized group and to call attention to the need for meaningful and comprehensive reform.
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