Duke Today: Student researchers help Duke & Triangle partners tell their stories
The first edition of Story+ ended in great fanfare on June 28 with a well-attended public event, featuring final presentations from the program's five inaugural project teams. Duke Today was on the scene:
Story+ kicked off in May when five teams of undergraduate student researchers set out on a six-week journey to explore the difficult problems they’d been given, guided by a graduate student mentor. Projects varied in discipline and scope, but all aimed at using humanities-based research to address complex, real-world questions.
Throughout the six weeks, students used a variety of qualitative, humanities-based research techniques such as visual analysis, archival research and personal interviews. Each team produced distinctive projects: Some created websites and interactive story visualizations, while others combined qualitative and quantitative analysis to produce substantive policy recommendations. Participants were encouraged to communicate their research using effective storytelling techniques. On the end-of-program evaluation survey, all 14 undergraduates indicated that they would recommend Story+ to peers.
“I had never had true experience in archives before,” said student participant Jessica Chen. “It was fascinating to see, touch and hold actual documents from 1930, 1950 and 1980 – items that ranged from memos to advertisements to letters.”
Vice Provost for Interdisciplinary Studies Edward Balleisen said the program showed the value of collaborative, project-based inquiry.
“The teams all learned a great deal about interpretive research methods, while crafting impressive narrative outputs for their community partners or faculty sponsors,” Balleisen said.