Metaphors and critical incidents: introduction to a methodological approach derived from expressions of librarian professional identity
journal contributionposted on 23.09.2020 by Cameron Pierson, Anne Goulding, Jennifer Campbell-Meier
Any type of content formally published in an academic journal, usually following a peer-review process.
Introduction. This paper introduces the metaphorical-critical incident technique where elicitation of metaphors is combined with the critical incident technique to study public librarians’ professional identity. A new methodological analytical framework is presented to elicit conceptualisations of professional identity and to derive meaning from them. Method. A questionnaire was administered online to public librarians in New Zealand. The combined elicitation of metaphors and critical incidents were the only substantive open-ended questions and responses were optional. Only complete responses to all open-ended questions were analysed. Analysis. Qualitative analyses were conducted on the metaphors and critical incidents data. The study employed an inductive approach in analysing the responses to the questions eliciting metaphors and critical incidents. Excel was used to arrange notations from the content analysis. Results. Findings support an integrative analytical framework for the joint analysis of metaphors and critical incidents, accommodating a variety of analytical foci. Critical incidents tended to be key data points, providing reasoning for the worldview presented in metaphors. Conclusions. Results indicate a viable methodological and analytical approach. Mutual support can be established between metaphors and critical incidents in the analytical framework. This approach establishes a link between worldview as expressed by metaphors and critical incidents and their meanings.