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Digital Storytelling

The goal of this guide is to explain the purpose and value of digital storytelling for the sciences, and to describe applications, tools, and tutorials to tell your own digital stories.

Building a Story

Sharing your research in the form of a story allows you to engage broad audiences in your research, including non-traditional science audiences in your research. The first thing you will need to do is find a way to structure your research as a story. 

The first place to start with crafting a story is to introduce a question that will be of interest to readers. What are the broad implications of the work you are doing? How is it relevant to the lives of the audience, or how does it answer a central problem?

Three sections of a story: Beginning: Introduction; Ask a question or state a thesis Middle: Supporting Evidence; Research End: Conclusion; summarize findings

7 Elements of Digital Storytelling

According to The Center for Digital Storytelling in Berkeley, California, there are 7 key elements to keep in mind when creating a digital storytelling piece.

 

Point of View 
Before anything else, make sure you have decided what point you're trying to convey and what perspective you bring to this video. What is this story saying? 

A Dramatic Question 
Pose a question that your viewer can connect with their lives or experiences, and provide a compelling answer.

Emotional Content 
What about your research and its implications engages viewers emotionally, not just intellectually?

The Gift of Your Voice 
 Personalize your research to help the audience connect. Why are you well positioned to tell this story?

The Power of the Soundtrack 
Don't forget about audio cues beyond your voice. How can music or sound effects immerse your audience, create a mood, or emphasize a point?

Economy 
It takes a lot to hold someone's interest for over 5 minutes of video. Holding someone's interest for 2-3 minutes is much easier. Keep it no longer than a video you'd want to watch.

Pacing 
 The rhythm of the story and how slowly or quickly it progresses. Trust your own sense of what works. Is it entertaining and well paced to you?

Resources on Storytelling