The Power of Stories

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Maybe stories are just data with a soul.Brené Brown

This is one of my absolute favorite lines from Brené Brown’s famous 2010 TED Talk. As a qualitative researcher, I (Kristina) also like to think of myself as a storyteller. Qualitative researchers rely on the power of words to evoke / provoke themes, wisdom, new ideas and–on our best days–revelation / revolution. Sounds strangely similar to another profession we’re all familiar with, right? This is also one of the tasks and calls of ministers.

During this season of Advent, we re-told one of the greatest stories of our faith–Jesus’ birth. We prepared ourselves for the Christ-child to enter our lives once again, and we rejoiced as the shepherds and wise men did by singing old, familiar hymns and lighting candles in the darkness (among a myriad of other things). Stories have power–the power to transform a person, a community, a nation, and a world.

As we continue to celebrate Christ’s birth and message of transformation through words and stories this season, I invite you to watch (or re-watch) Dr. Brown’s powerful talk on vulnerability as one example of the way in which qualitative research can bring about revelation / revolution.

Maybe “researchers-storytellers” are just pastors in disguise…

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