Narrative projects tell a story about a person, place, object, idea, or material using one or more visualization tools. While narrative tools may include maps, data visualizations, timelines, and other digital forms, the emphasis is on conveying a compelling story rather than any single visual element. The digital form gives users a lot of flexibility to explore non-linear stories and to tell different aspects of a story using different tools. This opportunity can make it difficult to keep projects manageable and to connect all the components of your narrative into a coherent message. For that reason, creating a storyboard and good documentation are especially critical with narrative projects to help you keep your overall message and style in mind as you build the story.
Narrative projects often follow the other types of projects described in this handbook as a way to explain or interpret complex maps, data, dimensional models, archived primary sources, or other content. Taking the time to explain your material with a compelling narrative can help different audiences understand the relevance and larger implications of specialized material. Narrative projects can also be a good way for students to show their ability to craft an argument and explain their research beyond the familiar essays and presentations. While narrative projects are typically a way to present content in a digital form, in some cases digital narrative tools can be used as part of analytic research.
Common narrative projects include online exhibits, video projects, or even map-based tours.