Assistant Professor Jenn Lilly, Ph.D., has published research that examines the feasibility, challenges, and opportunities of using digital narrative methods in anti-oppressive social work research.
The article, titled “The AltaVoces project: A digital narrative approach to anti-oppressive social work research with Latino youth,” was published in Qualitative Social Work. To examine the digital narrative methods, Lilly’s study provides empirical insights from the AltaVoces project—an AOSWR project that used digital narrative methods to engage Latino youth.
Read the abstract below:
Although digital narrative methods lend themselves well to participatory, action-oriented inquiry, these relatively new methods also raise questions about potential risks involved in using digital technologies to engage marginalized groups in social work research. This article examines the feasibility, challenges, and opportunities of using digital narrative methods in anti-oppressive social work research (AOSWR) by providing empirical insights from the AltaVoces project—an AOSWR project that used digital narrative methods to engage Latino youth. This case study demonstrates the compatibility and feasibility of digital narrative methods in AOSWR by examining to what extent the AltaVoces project: (1) used methods that center the contexts, voices, and experiences of oppressed peoples, recognizing the social construction of knowledge and the politics inherent in knowledge creation, (2) critically interrogated power arrangements within research relationships and made efforts to form authentic, collaborative relationships and share power with co-researchers, and (3) acknowledged oppressive systems and institutions and reflected a commitment to transforming, dismantling, or abolishing them through the research purpose, process, and products. We found that digital tools offered new possibilities for centering the voices of Latino youth, rebalancing power in research relationships, and connecting knowledge to action through digital products, in alignment with AOSWR, but also introduced new power hierarchies and risks related to producing digital material. The AltaVoces project provides one example of how digital narrative research may be implemented and evaluated using the integrative AOSWR framework, exposing several aspects of digital narrative research that warrant specific attention and presenting practical strategies for doing so.