Data Stories for IPY

PDF version (263 KB)

Intended for non-technical audiences, Data Stories are narrative descriptions of scientific research and inquiry processes that utilize a simple storytelling approach in conjunction with information technology and social networking. They contain information essential to the scientific research that can be augmented by additional background information and resources; such as blogs, videos, podcasts, maps, and virtual globe tools; and "repackaged" to meet the needs of various audiences.

Data Stories are structured to capture essential "who, what, where, when, how, and why" information focusing on data collection and analyses rather than solely focusing on results and outcomes, emphasizing the human context of scientific inquiry. The information contained in Data Stories can benefit media communication, outreach by scientists and their institutions, and education programs and strategies as well as help the general public to better understand the process of data collection and scientific investigation.

The IPYDIS aims to support the creation of Data Stories for IPY projects and related activities in support of IPY education, outreach, and communication efforts. The IPYDIS will showcase Data Stories about the process of "science in action" and the human dimension of polar research in an effort to demystify for education audiences and the science-attentive public how the science is conducted.

To capture the essential elements for story creation, the IPYDIS recommends coming up with a title that has an implied mystery or riddle behind it (for example, "Are we seeing the collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet?") and then the following ten fields, which serve as the initial framework of Data Stories:

1. Project reference number(s) and title Who?
2. Main character(s), such as the Principal Investigator(s) and/or the storyteller, and what drives them to do this work
3. Background information, such as the institution(s), community, etc., of the main character(s) What?
4. Focus or theme of the research
5. Tools or methods used to conduct the research and their limitations
6. Geographical reference; the spatial domain of the research, including elevation, latitude, longitude, etc. Where?
7. Extent of the teleconnection, or linkage between weather changes occurring in separated locations (for example; local, regional, continental, global, etc.)
8. Date(s) of data collection and time period the data reference When?
9. Description of data collection and analysis written in a non-technical narrative format How?
10. Relevance and importance of the research and resulting data Why?

Use this sample Data Story  (PDF version, 2.22 MB)  as a guide to creating Data Stories for your IPY research. When your Data Stories are completed, contact the IPYDIS at and link them to your metadata.