Using narrative and stories to help learning

Narrative approaches are growing in popularity and are becoming more accepted in the research sector. Stories are particularly useful for giving voices to marginalised groups, and working with pluralistic perspectives.

Using narratives and storytelling to communicate science with nonexpert audiences
Narratives offer increased comprehension, interest, and engagement. Nonexperts get most of their science information from mass media content, which is itself already biased toward narrative formats. Narratives are also intrinsically persuasive, which offers science communicators tactics for persuading otherwise resistant audiences, although such use also raises ethical considerations.

Researching Organisational Change and Learning: A Narrative Approach
This paper by Carl Rhodes (The Qualitative Report, Volume 2, Number 4, December, 1996) explores a qualitative research approach to organisational change and learning based on the gathering and reporting of stories. Particular emphasis is placed on reporting research findings in the “voices” of the organisational actors involved in the research. The paper starts by identifying learning, socialisation and diversity as a context for research and goes on to examine the power relations implicit in organisational learning. A pluralistic approach to the use of storytelling in organisational analysis is discussed and a research process is described. Issues of how research findings are represented are examined as are some unresolved and potentially unresolvable problems with narrative based research.

Mastering the art of the narrative: using stories to shape public policy
To Michael D. Jones and Deserai Crow, it starts by understanding the component parts of a narrative and configuring those in a way that maximises your chances of success. Setting the stage, establishing the plot, and casting the characters are all vital steps towards stating the moral of the story: the solution to the policy problem. Once there it is just as important to identify the venues and intervention points at which telling the story matters most.