One of my most favorite articles/resources is an article by Dustin Lance Black on “Storyboarding Research.”

What is a storyboard?

It is a comic or series of images produced beforehand to help visualize scenes/paragraphs/tables and find potential problems in a final original research manuscript.

What does a storyboard include?

  • Key imagery/metaphors/summary information
  • Critical ‘turning points’ in the data story
  • All figures and tables
  • Headings and sub-headings you plan to use to structure the final manuscript

Why Storyboard?

  • Helps envision your finished product early in the process.
  • Generate key reactions, understand what your audience needs most to hear and how to communicate that information clearly.
  • Creatively develop the difficult materials or paragraphs.
  • Generate a detailed common vision for the manuscript before the first draft.

I need help visualizing the final product.

  • Consider all your important trigger ideas or moments and picture them clearly.
  • Vary the scale of your focus, broaden to the largest summary of your research in the broad field, then focus down to your sub-specialty and the gap you are filling with this manuscript.
  • Face up to any inconsistencies in your data or storytelling.
  • Avoid procrastination!
  • Focus on the narrative.