Methodological Assumptions

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The aim of this research has been to take a snapshot of Netskills as an organisation at a moment in time. The organisation has had a growing interest in digital storytelling since 2010 and it is now at a crucial stage in exploring the topic. Netskills has to make choices whether to commit time and resources to developing skills and approaches in digital storytelling so I wanted to capture thinking among employees as well as recording the activities that had been completed so far. This is by no means the end of the journey for Netskills.

There seems to me to be a logic in framing this research in terms of a story. I am piecing together the experiences of a set of individuals, identifying the hurdles that they are trying to overcome and interpreting the information to establish its importance, to give it meaning.As a result my approach has been shaped by the needs of narrative, rather than hard quantitative data.

As I outlined in the review of literature, storytelling is based on something instinctive within humans. There may be biological, evolutionary reasons for this but I have chosen to focus on the social experience of storytelling. This is partly because of my background as a social scientist but it is also because I have chosen to look at how colleagues within Netskills perceive stories themselves.

Truth is a difficult concept when it comes to stories. As Bruner points out (2004) within a story the line between what is fact and what is truth is not a direct relationship. A story may contain poorly remembered facts, even falsehoods, but can still point to an essential truth.This research has an obligation to reflect the truth of a situation but both the subject matter and the methodology are intertwined with the ideas of storytelling. I need to set out where my assumptions about where that truth lies in such an ambiguous topic. I have chosen to look at my research questions based on an assumption that I can do this by looking at a social reality more effectively than if I was looking at a purely scientific one.

The impact and uses of stories don’t lend themselves easily to quantitative research although there is work that is taking a scientific approach to understanding stories. For example there is ongoing research into the impact of hearing stories on neurochemistry and feelings of empathy and distress, measuring the levels of hormones like cortisol and oxytocin in people watching stories (Zak 2012). This however, isn’t the reality of storytelling and narrative that I want to reflect.This study examines the ideas and perceptions of a number of individuals within an organisation towards storytelling. It is trying to document the truth as people see it subjectively and does not try to access a universal, objective view of the situation (Burrell and Morgan 1979).

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