Exploring Identity and Assimilation: Research and Interpretive Poems


  • Carol L. Langer University of Nebraska-Omaha
  • Rich Furman University of Nebraska-Omaha




poetry, expressive arts research, qualitative methods, poetry as data, Native American


Through the presentation of traditional qualitative and poetic data, this article explores the experience of a Native American woman coming to terms with her bi-racial identity and issues related to assimilation. Data is presented in three different ways, each with varied implications for qualitative and expressive arts researchers. First, data is presented as an in-depth qualitative interview with interpretive comments. Next, the authors present a research poem that utilizes the subject's exact words in compressed form. This is followed by two interpretative, creative poems that reflect the authors' attempts at capturing the essence of the subject's experience. The strengths and limitations of each of these methods are assessed. The article further discusses the implications of using poems and other expressive arts as data. URN: urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs040254


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Author Biographies

Carol L. Langer, University of Nebraska-Omaha

Dr. LANGER received her Bachelor's Degree in Education in 1971 from Peru State College, Peru, NE and taught high school for several years. She received her MSW from UNO in 1985. Carol worked as a school social worker in an educational service unit serving K-12 students and their families in four counties in NE. She also worked as a medical social worker, provided EAP counseling to hospital employees, and worked as a geriatric social worker. In addition, Carol has worked in a home health organization, a state department of social services (specialized foster care), and an emergency services program. She began teaching postsecondary courses in 1986 at Midland Lutheran College, Fremont. Her postsecondary teaching experience prior to coming to UNO in 2002 includes Midland Lutheran College (6 years), Clarkson College, Peru State College, Southeast Community College, and Nebraska Wesleyan University in Lincoln, NE (6 years). Dr. LANGER received the Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2000. Dr. LANGER's specialties include Native American issues, race and ethnic relations, theory, women's issues, medical social work, school social work, and identity.

Rich Furman, University of Nebraska-Omaha

Dr. FURMAN has worked in various roles in social work practice and education for fifteen years. His primary research interests are: friendship and its relationship to psychosocial health; poetry and its uses in teaching, research and education: and social work theory. He was the founding director of Children's Outreach Services Programs, Resources for Human Development, Philadelphia, PA. This innovative wrap-around program provides home and school-based services to children and adolescents with emotional and mental health disorders. He also founded and directed an early intervention program for the same agency. He has been a clinical social worker conducting individual, group and family therapy with adults, children and families in the various communities. He was the supervisor of group therapy for a substance abuse program in the Puerto Rican community in Philadelphia. Dr. FURMAN was also previously the Director of the Youth Work Certificate Program at Community College of Philadelphia, and a member of the faculty in the department of Behavioral Health and Human Services. Dr. FURMAN has engaged in research and development projects throughout Mexico and Central America. He is also an internationally published poet. His poetry has been published in Hawai'i Review, The Evergreen Review, Black Bear Review, Red Rock Review, Sierra Nevada Review, Penn Review, Free Lunch, Colere, Pearl, The Journal of Poetry Therapy, Impetus, Poetry Motel and many others. He has preformed his work throughout the United States, as well as in Nicaragua, Mexico, and Guatemala. Dr. FURMAN's specialties include qualitative research, poetry therapy and research, friendship and resiliency, international social work.




How to Cite

Langer, C. L., & Furman, R. (2004). Exploring Identity and Assimilation: Research and Interpretive Poems. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 5(2). https://doi.org/10.17169/fqs-5.2.609