Video Use in Social Science Research and Program Evaluation
Barbara Rosenstein, PhD., Freelance Program Evaluator, Beer Sheva, Israel Abstract:
In light of technological advances in producing, viewing and storing moving images, it is appropriate to survey the literature concerning the use of moving images in research over the past few decades. A review of the literature shows that the use of video technology for research falls into three areas: observation (including data collection and analysis), a mechanism for giving feedback, and a means for distance learning and consulting via videoconferencing. This article addresses the first two areas — observation and feedback. It begins with a survey of the use of video observation as a tool for research and documentation. A section on feedback, divided into three sections: performance, interaction and situational assessment follows. A separate section is devoted to the use of video for Program Evaluation. The article concludes with a discussion of epistemological methodological issues and the ethics involved in such a technologically advanced medium. Keywords: technology, observational methods, documentation, feedback, ethics Citation information:
Rosenstein, B. (2002). Video use in social science research and program evaluation. International Journal of Qualitative Methods 1 (3). Article 2. Retrieved DATE from http://www.ualberta.ca/~ijqm ________________________________________
Researchers and practitioners have used photographs and film in varying degrees over the years. According to Prosser (1998), "taken cumulatively, images are signifiers of a culture; taken individually they are artefacts that provide us with very particular information about our existence" (1) It would seem likely therefore, that social science researchers would explore this rich resource. However, such is not the case, and Prosser encourages those qualitative researchers already using image-based research to continue, and those not using it to investigate its broad potential. In a similar spirit, the present article surveys the use of moving images, either film or video, over recent decades. In the past, heavy equipment, variable environmental conditions (lighting, electricity, etc) and prohibitive costs have hampered such use. Advances in technology have all but eliminated these problems, and in the light of such advances in producing, viewing, and storing moving images, it is appropriate to survey the literature concerning the use of moving images in social science research. A synthesis of such a review shows that the use of video technology for research falls into three areas: as a tool used for observation (data collection and analysis), as a mechanism for giving feedback, and as a means of distance learning and consulting via videoconferencing. Video observation has provided researchers with permanent revisable documentation from the field. This documentation can serve both as a source of data collection to be used in research or evaluation or as a historical record. As a means of providing feedback, it has been used for training purposes in education and in the more clinical disciplines such as medicine, psychotherapy and social work. Computer based video technology has expanded the field of distance learning to include remote areas. Videoconferencing is the latest use of video technology and serves a variety of purposes not directly involved in data collection, analysis, or feedback, but rather as a facilitator in communications that further research pursues. In this article, I begin by discussing video observation as a tool for research and as a tool for documentation. I will follow with a presentation of video use for feedback. The section on feedback is divided into three sections: performance, interaction, and situational assessment. The article concludes with a discussion of the epistemological and ethhical issues raised by using video. For reasons of space, this...
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