Digital Storytelling Method

  • Brenda M. GladstoneEmail author
  • Elaine Stasiulis
Reference work entry


Digital stories are short (2–3 min) videos using first-person voice-over narration synthesized with visual images created in situ or sourced from the storyteller’s personal archive. Digital storytelling (DST) is a codified process, originating in the 1990s as part of a community development arts initiative to mobilize voices marginalized by dominant, institutionalized media. Rooted in the rapid emergence of arts-based health research, DST is used in health promotion research and practice, public health and community-based participatory research, and multidisciplinary fields such as psychiatry, disability studies, and social work, covering a range of physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health topics and perspectives. In this chapter, we describe a case study in children’s mental health, which combined DST and traditional ethnographic and participatory analysis methods. Exemplars from the case study are used to initiate critical dialogue about DST, inspired by key methodological questions raised by education, cultural, and media scholars, but generally lacking in health and social science scholarship.. We consider how multiple human and institutional actors negotiate and shape the story told and the extent to which narrative constraints imposed by DST problematize claims around “voice” and representation. We conclude with thinking about the “after life” of digital stories, including how singular narratives can connect the personal and the structural to effect real social change.


Digital storytelling Arts-based health research Participatory analysis Qualitative research Youth Voice 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dalla Lana School of Public Health, Centre for Critical Qualitative Health ResearchUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  2. 2.Child and Youth Mental Health Research UnitSickKidsTorontoCanada
  3. 3.Institute of Medical ScienceUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada

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