The Intersection of Storytelling and Research

By: Lesley Isaro, Blessing Digha

What sort of Reasearch are we talking about exactly?

Some of what will be touched upon can be applied to many other forms of research, but we will primarily focus on storytelling as it relates to Community-Based Participatory Research.

Storytelling is not and should not be limited to written texts or speech. Storytelling can involve music, movies, or even facial expressions. In this same way, so can research. Think of folklores and the ways in which they are utilised to communicate values or virtues. Like the one of the cracked tortoise shell and how it is meant to instill in young children that it is never right to lie.

Pictures are also considered a medium of storytelling, and in a sense a medium for research data collection, or for the communication of research findings. Think of photojournalism for instance, and the ways in which photographs are used to depict to audience what may be lost in written or verbal translations.

Origin stories the world over present timeless windows to the many ways, those who came before us thought and processed the world around them. Right here in North America alone there are so many different and unique stories of humanities origins, and all are valid.

Storytelling in the case of research can also serve as a vessel for researchers to present their findings. Who is to say that scholarly research can only be disseminated by way of journal articles, and essays? Why not a song, or a film?

“Word Choice IS important.”

In the case of both storytelling and research presentation alike, one must be mindful of word choice. Overly complex language may leave your audience or readers more confused than they when you first began.

When engaging with storytelling, in your own work or for research purposes. Allow yourself to express whatever emotions come over you. It only makes you human, and if anything it expresses sincerity.