Monday, August 24, 2009

Web 2.0 storytelling - using narratives in research

Last week, I was working on the Ako Aoteoroa funded ‘teaching craftsmanship’ research project which involves the building of narratives based on information gleaned from questionnaires and interview content. Each narrative is constructed based on set criteria. This then allows a horizontal comparison to be made between each narrative. Commonalities and differences are then easier to distil out of the mass of data presented.

I could clinically construct the narratives as a large spreadsheet or table but building narratives is imminently more satisfying J Narratives are also much more pleasant to read and some of the characteristics that define each research participant come through, even in a rather objectively composed narrative. The narratives tell stories which are much richer and intense then a list of characteristics off a spreadsheet.

However the above is my interpretation, as a researcher of the participants’ original stories. I need to put some time into exploring how to provide opportunities in my future research projects to record participants’ own narratives.

Bryan Alexander & Alan Levine discuss in an educause review article the emergence of the genre of web 2.0 story telling. They propose they consolidation of a range of social networking tools as being methods by which people are able to ‘tell stories’ about their lives. Alan Levine aka Cogdogroo provides 50+ways to tell digital stories, so there are no shortage of ideas of how to people can garner their experiences, archive them on various sites and for others to follow the threads of their thoughts & learning as they navigate through the various hyperlinks presented. Liz Kolb provides a couple of examples of how to use the mobile phone to create digital storybooks using yodio. Chrissy Hellyer presents the use of voice thread as a digital portfolio & Photopeach as another option.

Lots of ideas, some of which I have explored in the mobile portfolios project. Bringing the opportunity of recording learning while it is taking place provides for many possibilities to extend on Graham Nuthall & others’ work on the hidden lives of learners. The emerging field of multimodal discourse analysis is something I will need to explore as this provides for the rigorous data analysis of the plethora of data that will emerge from investigating participant generated artefacts!

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