A narrative review of digital storytelling for social work practice

Chitat Chan, Melanie Sage

Research output: Journal article publicationLiterature reviewAcademic researchpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Digital storytelling (DST), broadly defined, is a storytelling method that is interwoven with digitised images, texts, sounds, and other interactive elements, and it has been increasingly used for social work and healthcare interventions. While the term DST has become more popular, its role in actual social work interventions is not clear. The ambiguity of DST presents a hurdle to further theorisation for social work practice and research. This article aims to provide a narrative review and derive a conceptualisation that is in line with social work’s psychotherapeutic and systems orientation. The review has derived a two-layer conceptualisation. In a broad sense, DST can be seen as an umbrella term covering different sorts of storytelling activities that use digital communication media. Practitioners and researchers can adopt a set of parameters for describing and comparing different practice designs. More specifically, DST can be seen as a kind of narrative practice utilising digital communication media. This definition offers a conceptual base for DST, which helps further theorisation and research in social work practice.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Social Work Practice
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2019


  • Digital storytelling
  • narrative practice
  • social work
  • technology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Drug guides


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