Fictional Story-Telling for Teaching Research and Ethics? A Discussion on the Permissibility of Fiction and Its Potential as an Exploration of Cultural and Moral Biases

Document Type


Presentation Date


Abstract or Description

For the last few decades, teachers and writers of narrative nonfiction have developed instructional awareness of the ethics involved in writing true stories, but for fiction writers, the only preoccupation regarding adapting a true story have been reduced to simplistic advice mostly involving characters' names and legalities that may result in dangerous lawsuits. With such titles as Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter students and teachers feel justified to conceive fiction as the genre wherein everything is possible, treating the fiction label as a dispensation for all ethical and moral responsibility towards history, culture, and other inventions whose implications would otherwise command more thorough evaluation. Yet, we celebrate a surge in appreciation towards story telling as a tool for enhanced learning in every discipline: health sciences, engineering, and history are adopting a variety of story-telling activities to enhance empathy and bridge chasms across perspectives and cultures, for instance. As the trend grows, it becomes then ever more urgent that teachers consider the moral and ethical challenges arising from a genre that seemingly permits all form and method of distortion, and how such permissibility, if anything, leaves the genre more vulnerable to the sort of ethical dilemmas with which information literacy advocates are concerned. This presentation will discuss practical ways in which creative writing instructors can introduce research methods assignments and lead productive discussions on the ethics of cultural appropriations, ownership and other moral implications of writing fiction, whether the genre is being used creatively, or as a learning enhancement tool.


Georgia International Conference on Information Literacy (GICOIL)


Savannah, GA