Tumble Hitch pp 175-184 | Cite as

Narrative and Its Uses in Science

  • Pernille Rørth


Everyone likes a good story. A good story can be short: an anecdote, a vignette of a real life happening that reveals a person’s essence. It can have a moral, be humorous, or both. A good story can be long: a thoughtful novel read over many disappearing hours or the meandering story my grandfather would add to every evening of our summer vacation—even a modern-day multipart TV series. A story has characters that we may come to care about or at least to be curious about. It has a plot, one event following another with a logic that may be clear, or that we hope to divine along the way. A good story, if not too short, will transport us to somewhere else. A story may be true or fictional. In either case, if told well, it will stick with us. Stories have probably been around for as long as we have used language.

Bibliography and Suggestions for Further Reading

  1. Dahlstrom, M.F.: Using narratives and storytelling to communicate science with nonexpert audiences. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 111(Suppl 4), 13614–13620 (2014)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Hillier, A., Kelly, R.P., Klinger, T.: Narrative style influences citation frequency in climate change science. PLoS One. 11(12), e0167983 (2016)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Hoffmann, R.: The tensions of scientific storytelling. Am Sci. 102, 250–253 (2014)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Rørth, P.: Raw data – a novel on life in science. Springer, Dordrecht (2016)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pernille Rørth
    • 1
  1. 1.Bisley, StroudUK

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