#MethodsMatter: Storytelling as methodology

Joanna Wheeler shares with us why storytelling is both powerful and complex as a research approach. Joanna is currently Marie Skłodowska Curie fellow at the Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations at the University of Coventry. Her podcast was recorded by the ESRC National Centre for Research Methods.

Research that engages with security and insecurity at the margins is no easy task, and #MethodsMatter has explored some of the key challenges inherent in this inquiry. This podcast delves into storytelling as a methodology for researching daily experiences of security and other experiences of marginalisation/inclusion. It explores how storytelling works, and what it asks of us as researchers as well of those who may tell their stories through the research process. The impetus for using storytelling as a research methodology starts with the importance of recognising everyday experiences of security and insecurity, and how these experiences are differentiated according to our own positionally and that of those engaged in the research. Yet the methodological challenge of how to access these experiences in an ethical way, and what the implications are of surfacing, documenting and sharing these experiences requires careful attention. The podcast traces the pathway of a research project that used storytelling in different modes, from personal to collective, over more than a year to allow people to articulate their experiences of security through storytelling and then to analyse their own stories in terms of the structural causes of insecurity. It includes excerpts of a story created through the process.