"Healthy seeds planted in rich soil" : phenomenological and autoethnographic explorations of ethnodrama
Ferguson, Alana Lynn
Ethnodrama has been identified as an effective and innovative qualitative research method and dissemination tool which aims to improve and inform society through theatrical performances. Researchers are increasingly utilizing ethnodrama in their work; however it is relatively new and remains unexplored. The lived experiences of this method have not been extensively documented in prior research. Specifically, I focus on a project which involved ethnodrama workshops for women experiencing arm problems after breast cancer. The ethnodrama workshops revealed that women were feeling: 1) there is a lack of support, 2) a sense of isolation, and 3) a need to heal after breast cancer. The workshops began to break that isolation, provide support, and start a journey of healing. They also provided an unexpected finding that yoga is an effective and sought after method of healing for women after breast cancer. This finding moved the workshops into the creation of healing yoga program for women after breast cancer, instead of a research based theatrical performance (ethnodrama). Phenomenological interviews took place with a yoga teacher, dramatists, and researchers who had lived experiences of ethnodrama. The researchers spoke of the challenges involved in ethnodrama creation including time, funding, participant recruitment, and data collection. I also focus on the themes of emotional connectivity, building trust, healing, breaking isolation, and social change as they were found to resonate across all their experiences with the method. I also use the methodology of autoethnography to connect the common themes across the experiences of ethnodrama with my own experience. My participation in an ethnodrama project allows me to connect my participant and researcher involvement with this method. Ethnodrama is an effective knowledge translation strategy for audiences; however I have found that it is also a method which emotionally connects researchers and participants. There are challenges to this method, but I learned they did not outweigh the benefits. The themes of healing, breaking isolation, building trust, and social change show that ethnodrama is a method which positively impacts researchers and participants involved.
DegreeMaster of Arts (M.A.)
CommitteeQuinlan, Elizabeth; Poudrier, Jennifer; Kowalski, Kent