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Bringing research alive through stories: Reflecting on research storytelling as a public engagement method

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E-pub ahead of print
  • Judith E. Krauss
  • Suma Mani
  • Jonas Cromwell
  • Itzel San Roman Pineda
  • Frances Cleaver
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>20/09/2022
<mark>Journal</mark>Research for All
Issue number1
Publication StatusE-pub ahead of print
Early online date20/09/22
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Stories are vital in making sense of our lives – and research. Consequently, 12 researchers from the University of Sheffield underwent a three-month training process from September to November 2019 to learn how to shape their research experiences into accessible, ten-minute, spoken stories. This culminated in a storytelling evening as part of the Economic and Social Research Council’s Festival of Social Science, at which researchers from different disciplines discussed various nature–society dynamics in diverse field sites in the Global South. By reflecting on the training process and the performance through qualitative interviews with storytellers and audience members, our study answers the research question: What lessons emerge from an interdisciplinary group of researchers engaging with research storytelling for public engagement? Our study addresses gaps in the literature by focusing on interdisciplinary research storytelling, spoken ten-minute stories, bringing together storytellers’ and audience’s viewpoints, and providing practical recommendations for researchers and practitioners. We argue that research storytelling can have diverse benefits for both researchers and listeners by promoting learning in an accessible format, boosting self-confidence and helping (un/re)learn scholarly communication. However, professional guidance and peer support, as well as ethical sensitivity, are crucial.