What’s Your Research Story? An Online Exhibit About Crafting Digital Narratives As An Academic


What’s Your Research Story? An Online Exhibit About Crafting Digital Narratives As An Academic

How can we use digital storytelling to craft narratives to promote our research as academics? Whether you’re a graduate student, researcher or professor, you’ve likely been asked this question: what exactly is your research about? Although public audiences might not always associate digital storytelling with academic research, it is, in fact, an effective medium to share what your research is about in a concise, engaging way.

One of the key challenges with digital storytelling in academic research environments is being able to combine “cold” research data with a rich, compelling narrative (as the two are traditionally seen associated with two different spheres). As Bryan Alexander argues in his book, The New Digital Storytelling, one of the key problematic aspects of digital storytelling is that audiences are quick to separate the “digital” from “storytelling.” To address this “digital divide” and merge data with storytelling, I argue that an effective medium to craft a narrative for academic research is by using infographics.

In this research project, I will address the following questions: How is the infographic an effective medium for digital storytelling to promote academic research? In what ways are the humanities gravitating towards the use of infographics to share research digitally and engage public audiences? How can academics without digital design experience create their own basic infographic with tools they already have?


Screen Shot 2016-04-21 at 2.27.47 PMDesigned for academics (particularly in the humanities), this digital exhibit is a project consisting of two parts:

1) A RESEARCH COMPONENT which addresses challenges related to digital storytelling in scholarly contexts and proposing the infographic as a solution. The research component takes the form of five sections (as seen in the drop-down menu in the photo below).

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2) A DIGITAL KNOWLEDGE RESOURCE providing a short tutorial on how to create a basic animated infographic as an academic researcher without any prior digital design experience (all you need is PowerPoint and a few basic tools).

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When faced with the challenge of having to create an animated infographic, I struggled with finding resources online to help facilitate the creation of an infographic for someone who did not have any prior digital design experience. I wanted to learn how I could create an infographic using tools I already had and without having to install additional content creation programs. The objective of this digital resource is to address this void and encourage digital storytelling within academia, using animated info graphics to allow research to be shared and understood by a wide range of audiences.

My research project contributes to the SIPI theme of “Computational-Creative Literacy” as it addresses the issue of computational literacy when it comes to creating digital narratives as an academic researcher. My research project also contributes to SIPI initiatives as its goal is to address challenges in digital storytelling and facilitate a knowledge exchange between academic practitioners. 

Here is the full link to the digital exhibit: http://tanyartan.wix.com/sipiproject

*Please note that this exhibit is best viewed on a desktop computer

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