Stories can enrich program research and reporting. Historically, tribal communities have used storytelling to share language, traditions, and beliefs from one generation to another. Tribal social service programs and others can build on this rich tradition by using stories within a qualitative research framework.
Qualitative research provides insight into whether, how, and why a program works. Common qualitative data collection methods include interviews, focus groups, and observations. With these methods, programs can draw stories from program participants, staff, elders, community members, and other key stakeholders.
These resources present key points to consider when using stories in program research and reporting:
- Stories are powerful because they are accessible and enlightening. Stories resonate with us and can illuminate common and unusual experiences of program staff and participants.
- Stories provide rich information to explore, describe, or explain program activities and participant outcomes.
- The methods for story collection and analysis depend on your purpose and intended audience. Stories can be collected through interviews, story circles, or visual and performance-based approaches. Stories can be coded for themes and analyzed.
- Effective formats for story reporting depend on your purpose and audience but might include vignettes, case studies, or multimedia.
- Stories are deeply personal, and storytellers’ rights must be honored. Potential storytellers need to be engaged from start to finish in conversations about the story collection purpose, safety, confidentiality, data ownership, verification, and approval to share stories.