Why use stories?

How will stories contribute to the decision-making task or the work being undertaken?

Stories are one important form of evidence to consider in decision-making. Organisations often gather, or have access to, other forms of data that will also be used. Consider: How will evidence obtained from consumer stories relate to these other kinds of data?

  • Will stories help to put the ‘human face’ to statistics? Will they provide rich consumer experience data to complete the evidence picture?  Will they show gaps or areas that need further exploration or understanding?
  • Existing data may suggest an area of need (e.g. that certain services are underused by some groups). Stories help you to understand the reasons why.
  • Stories give you an insight into what matters from a consumer perspective.
  • Stories can be an effective method to hear the voice of vulnerable or hard to reach consumers

Using stories in a decision-making task can:

  • Provide information to inform better decision-making
  • Change perceptions of those involved in the decision-making by creating empathy
  • Focus decision-making on health outcomes and consumer experience

Note that you may want to use the stories you gather for multiple purposes. For example, as well as informing a specific decision-making process, you may want to use the stories you collect in staff education or training or community education material. Aim to identify all possible uses of stories before you begin, so that you can seek voluntary and informed consent from consumers for these different purposes. More information is provided in the Managing Risks, Consumer Control and Informed Consent section of this tool-kit.