Teaching about Marginalized Groups Using a Digital Human Library: Lessons Learned

Chitat Chan*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review


    This paper presents lessons learned from a project inspired by digital storytelling and the human library to reduce prejudices against marginalized groups. By comparing the outcomes of similar participants in different settings over the same period, the study explored which types of activities might be pivotal when influencing the perspective-taking attitudes of participants. The study used a case study approach, with data from the digital human library project, and selected participants from three different engagement contexts: participants in group A were involved in reading story abstracts online, having short face-to-face meetings regarding human books, and engaging in editorial activities; participants in group B were involved in extended face-to-face sharing provided by human books, followed by question-and-answer interaction; and participants in group C were involved in the reading of stories online without interaction. Convenience sampling was used and included 250 registered participants who completed pre-test and post-test questionnaires. The study found that merely reading stories online (group C) did not significantly reduce prejudice, and face-to-face contact on its own (group B) was also not the most effective in changing attitudes. Group A participants who combined short face-to-face meetings and story-retelling activities showed the most significant changes in perspective-taking attitudes. These findings imply that dialogic cognitive processes in narrative activities, rather than the mode of contact, may be pivotal in enhancing perspective-taking attitudes. This paper calls for further research into the scalability of digital human library hybrids and more rigorous experimental research designs. It underscores the potential of these interventions to foster more inclusive societies, mitigate social biases, and support equity.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number308
    Number of pages18
    JournalSocial Sciences
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - 8 Jun 2024

    Scopus Subject Areas

    • Social Sciences(all)

    User-Defined Keywords

    • digital storytelling
    • human library
    • marginalized groups
    • prejudice reduction


    Dive into the research topics of 'Teaching about Marginalized Groups Using a Digital Human Library: Lessons Learned'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this