Testimonial Validity Survey Results
Participants were provided with copies of the narrative results and invited to complete an on-line survey to facilitate their feedback and provide assessment of testimonial validity, the degree to which the narrative was viewed as an accurate representation of their respective perspectives on sustainability (Stiles, 1993). Ten of the thirteen participants responded to the survey (see Appendix I) for complete response data). An eleventh participants offered e-mail correspondence and indicated general satisfaction with the narrative. Feedback via the survey was largely positive, with minor issues identified by several participants and major issues identified by one participant (e.g., see Table 4). Questions about how well the narrative included a given participant's perspective and how well the overall narrative represented their perspective in general were scored from 0.0 to 5.0, with 0.0 corresponding to "strongly agree" and 5.0 corresponding to "strongly disagree." Mean scores ranged from 0.6 to 1.0, and standard deviations ranged from 0.52 to 1.12, indicating an overall solid level of agreement with the content of the narrative with some variability among the participants (see Table 5). Additional open-ended questions were posed to ensure accuracy in representation and to further gauge participant reaction. Appendix I provides full documentation of all responses to the testimonial validity survey.
Greatest reservation about the narrative was expressed by Larry Merculieff (Aleut). A phone conversation and a series of e-mail exchanges were engaged to better understand the issues of concern for acknowledgement here. Appendix J offers correspondence shared by Merculieff regarding his primary concerns with the format of the narrative. Merculieff found the "we" narrative voice problematic due to its implication of grouping all participants in consensus around the statements. Concern was also expressed about taking information and quotes out of the full context that they were originally shared. This was cited as a recurrent problem in the attempts to "incorporate" traditional ways of knowing into Western science (L. Merculieff, personal communication, April 13, 2008). Merculieff also identified use of some problematic language. The handling of these issues and others raised are addressed below.
Based upon all the feedback received, and after consulting with members of the project's research council, several changes were made to the final narrative, and several elements left the same. These are as follows:
The testimonial validity process in general helped to verify and refine the accuracy of my representation of the perspectives shared. The updated narrative summary follows.Introduction to Results and Narrative Summary