- Editors’ Note
We are pleased to present the second issue of Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics (NIB). This issue includes a narrative symposium on conflicting interests in medicine, a case study that offers an interesting twist on a familiar theme, and an original research article on the decision making of surrogates regarding participation in medical research studies. In this issue, we see once again how important it is that people are willing to share their stories. It is in sharing their stories through personal narratives, with researchers, and with ethics consultants and ethics committees that we come to better understand important issues and experiences in bioethics.
Already some interesting patterns are emerging within the novel forum of the “narrative symposium.” With this issue, we publish our second set of commentary articles. Across the four commentary articles published to-date, we recognize at least three different ways of engaging the personal narratives: Some authors extensively quote the narratives while citing the authors by name; others refer to the authors and paraphrase their main points without quotes; others quote the narratives without citing authors by name. Each of these styles may have its place. Citing narrative authors by name may serve to communicate respect; omitting names may make comments, especially critical comments, less personal; paraphrasing may be a reasonable way of capturing perspectives expressed by multiple authors or of leaving things impersonal. As editors, we do not wish to prescribe one fixed way of engaging narratives. We simply ask commentators to engage them, draw out lessons, and relate these lessons to current ethics or policy debates found in the literature.
Although we still wish to focus our publication efforts on narrative symposia, case studies, and research articles, we have added to our online guidelines for authors a new focus for articles: Narrative Education Reports. Increasingly programs that offer narrative education (e.g., to physicians in training) seek to share their educational experiences or to publish the qualitative outcomes of their programs. This seems to fit well with our overall mission. Accordingly, we will begin publishing occasional reports on the integration of narrative writing, journaling, or literature into the education of health professionals. Articles may be written as case studies describing and evaluating educational programs or as outcomes research studies using qualitative or mixed methods.
We wish to thank all of our story, commentary, and article contributors; our peer reviewers; Jocelyn Streid for proofreading; and the BF Charitable Foundation for a gift that enabled the publication of our first volume. Special thanks go to our managing editor, Susan DuBois, for her dedicated service in getting our first two issues to press. Starting a new journal has many hidden tasks, which have manifested themselves time and again over the past months. [End Page v]