Storytelling for narrative approaches in citizen science: towards a generalized model

Richter, Anett GND; Sieber, Andrea; Siebert, Julia; Miczajka-Rußmann, Victoria L.; Zabel, Jörg; Ziegler, David; Hecker, Susanne; Frigerio, Didone

Storytelling essentials are stories that direct attention, trigger emotions,and prompt understanding. Citizen science has recently promoted the narrative approach of storytelling as a means of engagement of people ofall ages and backgrounds in scientific research processes. We seek understanding about the typology of storytelling in citizen science projects and explore to what extent the tool of storytelling can be conceptualized in the approach of citizen science. In a first step, we investigated the use and integration of storytelling in citizen science projects in the three EuropeanGerman-speaking countries. We conducted a low threshold content analysis of 209 projects listed on the German-speaking online platforms for citizen science projects “Bürger schaffen Wissen”, “Österreich forscht”, and“Schweiz forscht”. Two expert workshops with citizen science practitioners were held to validate and discuss the identified role of stories in the practice of citizen science. Our analysis revealed three major categories mirroring how stories are being integrated and applied in citizen science.The first category refers to projects, in which stories are the core research objective. The second category is characterized by the application of stories in different phases of the research project. The third category encompasses stories as agents being part of the communication and organization of the project. We illustrate the practical application of the secategories by three representative case studies. By combining the functionality of the categories and abstracting the linkages between storytelling and citizen science, we derived a generalized model accounting for those linkages. In conclusion, we suggest that storytelling should be a prerequisite to enhance the competencies of the actors involved and to exchange knowledge at the interfaces of science and policyas well as science and society.

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Richter, Anett / Sieber, Andrea / Siebert, Julia / et al: Storytelling for narrative approaches in citizen science: towards a generalized model. 2019.

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