An African American Mother’s Stories as T.M.I.: Ethics and Vulnerability around Traumatic Narratives in Digital Literacy Research

Tisha Y. Lewis Ellison


This article examines how an African American mother’s affinity for digital tools relates to her telling of traumatic narratives, and how the very personal information contained in such narratives often problematizes the methodology of reporting qualitative research methods. These tensions include the concept of T.M.I. in qualitative research, as well as related ethical issues, such as participant vulnerability, informed consent, and risks and benefits. This work addresses three key roles relevant to T.M.I.: that of the participant, the researcher, and the journal reviewer. It also provides researchers with various recommendations for conducting unconventional, agentic, and activist research.

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