Possible alternative research paths

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The use of digital Storytelling within organisations is a rich seam for research and the approach that I have taken here is by no means the only way of looking at the issue.

There are a number of limitations to this research that mean the picture I have drawn is interesting but incomplete. Netskills is a small organisation working in quite a specific field which means that it is difficult to draw lessons from it that are directly applicable to other organisations. A way to address this would be to conduct a similar case study with another organisation working in a different field and to compare answers to my research questions in each case.

Also, the time span it covers is quite short, the research period lasting from December to February meaning that there was little opportunity for Netskills’ approach to digital storytelling to develop through experimentation and review. In fact, several digital stories were created shortly after the research was conducted but too late to be included in the study. The enthusiasm for using digital storytelling is still high and it is anticipated that more personal skills development work as well as story production will take place in the coming months.

This further activity gives more opportunities for research. The most obvious would be to reinterview the participants after a period of time to see if there skills or attitude to storytelling has altered giving a more dynamic picture of organisational change. The digital stories themselves could become the focus for analysis. This study is inward looking and does not consider the reactions of the different stakeholders that Netskills is trying to reach through storytelling. There is an opportunity to collect qualitative audience data, perhaps looking at how these stories affect perceptions of Netskills, or assessing the stories effectiveness in their own right. With digital stories published on platforms such as YouTube and Vimeo, and by looking at social media metrics, a more quantitative picture might emerge of the impact these stories have on the external audience.

There are different angles that this research could have taken on the case study. One which I intended to pursue but discarded was to analyse the interview data from the perspective of an exercise in group learning, specifically as a study of the development of a community of practice (Wenger 1998). There was some data from the interviews that could have been analysed with this in mind but not sufficient to be able to show change within the organisation.

Lastly, this dissertation is about storytelling and narrative but narrative analysis (Boje 2001) might also have been a methodological approach I could have adopted. The interviews generated a lot of rich qualitative data about the participants’ sense-making of their environment and looking at these through a narrative lens could have yielded an interesting alternative perspective on the data.

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