Framing and Exposing Community Issues through Video Participatory Research: An Emerging Approach for Adult Education

Framing and Exposing Community Issues through Video Participatory Research: An Emerging Approach for Adult Education

Sarah A. Mathews (Florida International University, Miami, FL, USA) and Maria K. Lovett (Florida International University, Miami, FL, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/IJAVET.2017040104
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Video participatory research (VPR) is an emergent methodology that bridges visual methods with the epistemology of participatory research. This approach is motivated by the “crisis of representation” or “reflective turn” (Gubrium & Harper, 2013) that promotes research conducted with or by participants, conceptualizing research as praxis (Lather, 1991). In this manuscript, the authors argue that VPR can be used to explore issues directly impacting individuals involved with adult education and vocational training. Primary investigators work with community co-researchers to document issues in the community, analyze this audio-visual material, and produce and distribute video projects, exposing policy makers and key stakeholders to a community's concerns. When implementing the VPR process research teams account for intentionality of form and content, apply a multi-perspective analysis to the complex layers of data produced by video, and plan for distribution of work on the personal and local level as well as in the public sphere (i.e., at the micro and macro level).
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Foundational Influences Of Vpr

Hesse-Biber and Leavy (2006) describe emergent methods as “state of the art” approaches that bridge the methods-theory gap (p. ix). These methods are often interdisciplinary approaches to understanding that transpire from within and outside traditional, academic spaces (Hesse-Biber & Leavy, 2008). For example, in the 1970s during the “crisis of representation,” or “reflective turn,” researchers began to adapt methodologies in efforts to become more reflective of their research practices and to increase participants’ agency in the research process (Gubrium & Harper, 2013; Pink, 2013). Methods were used to disrupt notions of “researcher” and “researched,” provide opportunities for individual agents to examine the issues of power and oppression directly impacting their lives, and offer a platform for using participatory research to contribute to theory-making. At the same time, researchers also began to use arts-based inquiry and visual methods to elicit and produce knowledge (Finley, 2005; Holm, 2008; Prosser, 2011). VPR is one such methodology that advances our understanding of the social world by combining the traditions of visual methods with the principles of participatory research.

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