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What is ethnographic/storytelling research?

It is a process of gathering and making stories.


Storytelling research helps researchers, clients and other stakeholders make sense of complex situations, particularly understanding and interpreting the world (Harrington & Mickelson, 2009). It is primarily used before quantitative methods like surveys to gain a better understanding of the issues or to analyze and synthesize data (Sanders, 2000; Wilkins, 2004).

Why storytelling research? 

Ethnographic/Storytelling research helps explore complicated issues and possible solutions, generate feedback, develop empathy, establish common ground, elicit participation, define solutions, experience something new, and provide inspiration for future work (Gruen, 2000; Parrish, 2006).

Stories matter. Many stories matter. Stories have been used to dispossess and to malign. But stories can also be used to empower and to humanize. Stories can break the dignity of a people, but stories can also repair that broken dignity… That when we reject the single story, when we realize that there is never a single story about any place, we regain a kind of paradise.

--Chimananda Ngozi Adichie, award-winning author


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