Keele sociologist awarded funding to study digital storytelling

A Keele academic has been awarded a Collaborative Innovation Grant to support marginalised groups to share their untold experiences.

Dr Cora Xu, from Keele University’s School of Social, Political and Global Studies, received the grant from the Economic and Social Research Council Methods North West to lead the project called ‘Digital Storytelling: How British-educated Chinese international students understand career and employment', which aims to demonstrate how creative methods can be used in social research.

Digital storytelling is a new and innovative research method that has the potential to allow under-represented and marginalised social groups to articulate and present their own versions of stories. It gives a voice to participants who have felt unable to tell share their experiences previously, by giving them the skills to tell their story through images and film whilst remaining in control of their own narrative.

The research team is also in collaboration with Dr Yang Hu from Lancaster University and research students from both institutions.

The team will conduct a two-day digital storytelling workshop with six Chinese students using a guided creative research method, including digital technology to explore their understanding of career and employment, which in cultural and national contexts remains understudied. Participants will produce a digital story by combining pictures, video clips, music and individual recorded voices.

The workshop will provide postgraduate research students with the opportunity to observe, participate in and reflect on the use of digital storytelling in a real research context. Dr Xu will develop a toolkit from the findings and present an online webinar for postgraduate students looking to use the research method.

Dr Xu, Lecturer in Education, said: “I am pleased to receive this funding as this will enable our research team to explore in-depth how to use digital storytelling in social science research.

“The digital storytelling workshop can enable our research team to work closely with a group of Chinese international students to explore their understanding about career and employment, an area that has often been portrayed in biased manners within the media. Through this workshop, the team will together disseminate our understanding of these research methods and about how it might be applied more widely in social science research.”


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