Review: Ardra L. Cole & J. Gary Knowles (Eds.) (2001). Lives in Context: The Art of Life History Research
COLE and KNOWLES present a book that is simultaneously an introduction to the field, an edited collection of mainly Canadian examples of research issues emerging from the field and a manifesto for arts-informed research. The book is divided into two sections: the first part is written by COLE and KNOWLES and is 100+ pages presenting a useful overview of the life history field and providing guidelines for "doing" life history research; the second part consists of 13 edited chapters which demonstrate both the range of uses of life history research and the spectrum of methods employed. The particular focus of this book that distinguishes it from other life-history method books is its focus on the use of arts-informed research. This is the major strength of the book and, while the review raises some criticisms, it is worth reading it for this discussion. Its weaknesses relate to its multiple purpose, its lack of visual exemplars and its limited engagement with issues such as the social value of life-history work.
life history research; arts-informed research; research methodology