Storytelling as a Qualitative Research Method
Stories and storytelling are central to human experience and understanding. Narrative understanding is an innate human capacity; we think, live, and dream in story form, making it one of the principal forms of human meaning-making. (Lewis, P. J., & Hildebrandt, K., (2019). Storytelling as Qualitative Research, In P. Atkinson, S. Delamont, A. Cernat, J.W. Sakshaug, & R.A. Williams (Eds.) and Reference
Story and narrative provide a substantial (if unspoken) foundation to many of the existing qualitative methodologies in use today, particularly those focused on understanding lived experiences.
Examples of Folktale users and qualitative research method.
Informant interviews: Conducting informant interviews with communities that utilise local community services to obtain priorities for programming around early childhood support.
Life Histories: Life histories can be used in monitoring and evaluation to trace how recent interventions fit into the wider lives of beneficiaries or change agents.
Learning diaries: Projects often have many stories of change that are heard by program staff but undocumented.Learning diaries are a way of systemising the collection of these stories from staff or change agents.
Narrative Assessment: Narrative Assessment revolves around building stories about advocacy and its subsequent usage for learning, monitoring, evaluation, and communication. Narrative Assessment uses stories to clarify how advocacy works and how it relates to advocacy outcomes. The stories unveil what happened, how, and why. They tell, for example, which decisions were made and how, and which strategies were followed, even while consequences were not clear, adversaries made their own strategic moves, and contexts kept changing.
A lot of our examples are associated with public health and behaviour change, indigeneity, identity and self-determination.
One customer used Folktale and digital storytelling to supplement customer surveys with informant reflections. The stories collected were not meant to be representative but to provide additional context to the insights being derived from written surveys.