AEA365 | A Tip-a-Day by and for Evaluators

TAG | photovoice

Hello! We’re Elizabeth DiLuzio and Miranda Yates from the Strategy, Evaluation, and Learning Division at Good Shepherd Services in New York City. As an organization dedicated to youth and family development, we strive to develop and offer programs that integrate the values, insights, and ideas of our participants. And, as an organization dedicated to evidence-based practice, we are continually seeking ways to incorporate innovative and effective methodologies into our work.

Photovoice, a research methodology implemented with youth and other frequently marginalized populations, utilizes the power of photography as a catalyst for self-expression. It invites individuals to capture on film information about their lives and perspectives that might otherwise be difficult to express. A Community Portraits grant from the Human Services Council and Measure of America, with funding provided by The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, recently enabled us to utilize Photovoice as a tool for including youth perspectives in our strategic planning process.   Our project focused on the East New York neighborhood of Brooklyn where Good Shepherd Services seeks to deepen its work.

Interested in implementing this approach?

Hot Tips:

  1. Prepare Your Prompts Carefully. Craft 3-5 simply worded prompts that capture the questions you seek to address. Write prompts as first person statements.  Our prompts were:
  • These are the places where I feel like I belong.
  • This is my community at its best.
  • This is something that I would like to change.
  1. Utilize Your Resources.  Ask program staff to assist with recruitment. Solicit feedback on project materials, from the project flyer to the informational packets. We also found success in partnering with a former participant and professional photographer who shared tips with participants and helped host the meetings.
  2. Point-and-Shoot, Disposable, or Cell Phone? There are pros and cons to the type of camera you select. Factors include budget, pixels, product availability, and photograph collection method.
  3. Harvest the Feedback. Design a participatory meeting that offers space and time for participants to reflect on their photos and those of others. Encourage participants to discuss and interpret the photos –  identifying trends, themes, and what can be learned
  4. Share the Results in Multiple Ways. In addition to informing strategic planning, use the results to impact conversations in multiple forums. Ensure participants have copies of all their work to take with them. Display the photos at the program site. Create a photo gallery that is open to the public. Bring photos to spark conversation at a community convening. Write an advocacy report.

Rad Resource:

I Bloomed Here”, a guide created by the National Indian Child Welfare Association, has more helpful tips and ideas for designing your own Photovoice project.

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Youth Focused Evaluation TIG Week with our colleagues in the YFE AEA Topical Interest Group. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from our YFE TIG members. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

 

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Hi. The four of us, Haley Stewart, Elise Waln, and Sharyn Worrall–students in a practiced-based learning evaluation course at the Colorado School of Public Health–along with our instructor, Yvonne Kellar-Guenther, conducted an evaluation for a city in Colorado. Our goal was to capture the voices of residents who typically do not have the opportunity to provide input to their city leaders about aspects that positively or negatively contribute to their overall well-being. We decided to incorporate Photo Voice into our data collection to increase our understanding of the issues, engage our participants, and strengthen our recommendations and report with images.

Our dilemma: Photo Voice typically requires ongoing interaction with community members. While we loved Photo Voice, we were not able to meet with participants outside of the one-time focus groups.

Our solution: We modified Photo Voice by encouraging participants to email us photos prior to the focus group or to bring in hard copies of photos to the focus group.

Problems we encountered and how we overcame them: Typically, we only got 1 or 2 photos prior to the focus group. When participants arrived we encouraged them to look at their phones to see if they had pictures they felt were appropriate, and if they did, to email or text them to us. Many were able to do this and enjoyed sharing their photographs.

During focus groups, pictures were displayed using a projector. Following the Photo Voice procedure, participants were asked to explain their photo, specifically how the image represented something that led to positive or negative well-being. For those who were unable to bring a photo, we asked them to describe what they would have taken a picture of. In the end we got some great pictures and great descriptions.

Hot Tip: We set up a project-specific email, which made it easy for photo collection both before and during the start of a focus group. More importantly, we had unintended benefits of using Photo Voice. Simply getting the pictures emailed and on the screen was a great way to break the ice with the participants and an engaging way start our discussion.

Hot Tip: Allowing the participants who did not have a photo describe what image they would have captured generated authentic discussion and helped overcome any barriers this lower income group may have had. Overall, Photo Voice provided us with great visuals and an even better understanding of what contributes to well-being.

Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org . aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

Hi, I’m Kenneth Kelty (with assistance from Seb Prohn*), a senior in Western Carolina University’s University Participant Program. I have intellectual disability (ID) and autism. I was a co-evaluator on a project this year where we looked at improving social inclusion for students with ID on my campus. I earned an AEA student travel award to help make evaluation more inclusive and facilitated the session on Reflection and Discussion on Cultivating Cultural Competence in the Field of Evaluation.

I felt very welcomed at AEA. But, when meeting with the student travel award winners, I learned about a time at this year’s conference when an African American woman speaking on an AEA panel was ignored or talked over by other panelists. Even at AEA, everyone should work on making the conference feel more inclusive. Everyone has a voice that matters.

Lessons Learned:

  • I can help others walk in my shoes and understand the importance inclusion if I have a voice in evaluation.  Who better than me to explain my perspective and evaluate my experience?
  • Use PhotoVoice. This tool makes evaluation more accessible. When evaluators explain their photographs, they connect it with meaning in their lives. Taking pictures as data for evaluation  has helped me to see what I have done in an evaluation and helps others realize I’m doing everything my typically-developing peers are doing. It has helped me feel more included and speak up about changes.
  • Don’t skip training participant evaluators in Photovoice! It may take weeks to train but it will be worth it. During training, I learned about ethics and the importance of consent forms. I also became better at taking pictures and telling my story.

Hot Tips:

  • When you evaluate with people with ID, look at possibilities and their strengths. Sometimes they can recognize or remember something you don’t.
  • Photo consent forms can be hard to remember when you go out to collect data. It helps to put photo consent forms in an electronic format, preferable one that can be shown to subjects and signed using an i-Pad or smartphone.
  • For people who don’t want to talk or cannot talk about their PhotoVoice pictures, encourage them to blog, type, or email (with assistive technology, if needed). You can also encourage them to take more pictures – they are “worth a thousand words.”

Rad Resources: There are several apps that can be used to make photo release forms easier to sign:

http://getsigneasy.com/

https://signnow.com/

http://www.docusign.com/

Believing in participants’ self-determination is necessary for inclusive evaluation. This series helps readers better understand how to honor and promote self-determination in evaluation and elsewhere:

This brief by Maria Paiewonsky will help evaluators implement multiple modes and methods for researchers with ID.

*Seb Prohn is the UP Program ‘faculty liaison & outreach coordinator’. Beyond performing internal evaluations for the UP Program he evaluates other NC postsecondary education programs for individuals with intellectual disability.

Clipped from http://www.ngsd.org/everyone/research-practice-self-determination-issues

This week, we’re diving into issues of Cultural Competence in Evaluation with AEA’s Statement on Cultural Competence in Evaluation Dissemination Working Group. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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My name is Laura Pryor, and I am a recent alumna of The American Evaluation Association’s Graduate Education Diversity Initiative (GEDI) program. My experience in the GEDI program largely focused on culturally responsive evaluation. As a result, my current work considers and prioritizes several methods to apply culturally responsive practices. Most recently, I incorporated the ‘Photovoice’ method into an evaluation of a boys and men of color youth program.

By definition, Photovoice “utilizes photographs taken by program stakeholders to enhance need assessments, discussions and reflection, gather data, promote dialogue, conduct participatory evaluations and communicate results with various audiences, including policymakers.” Caroline Wang originally developed Photovoice in the 1990s as a mechanism to empower marginalized groups through participatory research; participants identify, represent, and improve their community through this visual documentation.

Hot Tip – Consider the Participant Population: While Photovoice templates are helpful, each project will require materials and instructions specific to the participant population. Before implementing the project, review project documents with stakeholders to ensure that materials are relevant to the population context.

Hot Tip – Invest Participants: Establish a common set of ‘Photovoice Project Goals’ with participants and suggest that they self-select who will take the photos (if not all participants can receive cameras).

Hot Tip – Conduct Culturally Responsive Follow-up Interviews: Conduct and record follow-up interviews with each Photovoice participant to understand the story behind each photo taken. Number each photo and bring tape/pins to arrange photos on a wall; make notes on each photo as participants are explaining his or her Photovoice experience. Use quotations and corresponding photos to support evaluation findings.

Rad Resources

  • The California Endowment’s handbook entitled: Storytelling Approaches to Evaluation provides a great explanation of the benefits and best practices for using visual documentation in program evaluation.
  • Photovoice.org offers a number of free online resources to assist with designing and implementing a Photovoice project. These resources are intended to empower issue affected communities and marginalized individuals.

The often diverse group of program participants and staff associated with community-based programs calls for culturally responsive evaluation tools to accurately represent the participant perspective. I find that that the Photovoice approach provides an appropriate medium to communicate this portion of an evaluation.

Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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I am Dana Harley, an Assistant Professor at Northern Kentucky University.  I specialize in child and adolescent mental health and developmental issues, with a focus on participatory action research methods such as, “photovoice.”

Photovoice is a cutting edge research method aimed at uncovering issues, concerns, constructs, or real-life experiences of those who have historically been marginalized or oppressed.  Participants are given cameras and asked to photograph images that represent the particular issue of interest.  This method is very appropriate for use with children and adolescents; however, special precautions and considerations must be managed to successfully acquire Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval.  Special issues of concern include safety, confidentiality, and consenting.  I provide several tips that may assist you in addressing these unique challenges.

Hot Tips:

  • Safety First. Always consider safety first.  The IRB is concerned about children’s safety related to taking photographs.  I conducted a photovoice study with adolescents in a low-income, high crime, and violent neighborhood.  To address the issue of potential safety hazards, I discussed photovoice “safety” with the research participants.  I included information about avoiding taking pictures of illegal activities, crimes being committed, and other potentially dangerous scenarios.  You should compose a script that outlines exactly what you will say to participants when addressing such issues.
  • Confidentiality. Due to the visual nature of photographs, confidentiality is a concern of the IRB.  For example, I received numerous photographs from research participants that included images of people (teachers, parents, siblings etc.).  It is conceivable that such images could have been linked back to particular individuals participating in the study. Although this issue is almost unavoidable in some photovoice projects, it is important not to publish photographs of research participants themselves.  You MUST explicitly indicate to the IRB that you will not publish images of actual research participants.
  • Consenting. Once your research participants have their cameras in hand, it’s important that they obtain consent to photograph other individuals.  IRB’s are especially critical of this process, since minors are attempting to acquire consent from adults and potentially other minors.  Having research participants obtain verbal consent to photograph other individuals is the best way to manage this issue.   It is important to provide a script that outlines exactly what the research participants will say to obtain verbal consent.

Rad Resources:

Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

 

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Hello, I am Kimberly Kay Lopez, I have a community-based evaluation and research practice based in Houston, Texas. My work is concentrated in participatory evaluation methods used for the evaluation of youth programs and services.

Hot Tip: Using Photovoice in an Empowerment Evaluation: When working with youth, I have used the Empowerment Evaluation model many times. I have found that using Photovoice and journal writing within the Empowerment Evaluation model yields a variety of rich evaluation data. The goals of the Photovoice process enhance the evaluation process. The Photovoice process allows participants to document issues, engage in dialogue, and impact policy. I first integrated Photovoice with the Empowerment Evaluation model when evaluating the long-term impact of a multi-year teen pregnancy prevention program among urban Latino youth, I utilized the Photovoice process as a tool to “take stock” within the Empowerment Evaluation model. Youth were given cameras to capture the impact of the program. Youth were also given journals and guided writing assignments to express the impact that the teen pregnancy prevention program had on them. We also held traditional Empowerment Evaluation discussion groups. The youth and I analyzed visual data, journal data and discussion group data to develop the final evaluation report.

Rad Resource: PhotoVoice.org: PhotoVoice is an international organization that works with vulnerable populations. They offer several publications including a manual for using Photovoice. The methodology series gives further instruction on working with specific populations such as refugees. http://www.photovoice.org/shop/info/methodology-series

Rad Resource: PhotoVoice Manual: A comprehensive Photovoice Manual developed by Prairie Women’s Health Centre of Excellence. www.pwhce.ca/photovoice/pdf/Photovoice_Manual.pdf

Hot Tip: Using Journal Writing in Evaluations: I have found when working with middle school students, some students may be reluctant to participate in a discussion group. Offering youth writing opportunities allows those students uncomfortable in a group discussion a way to contribute to the evaluation process, on their terms.

Rad Resource: Guide on Engaging Youth: The National Clearinghouse for Families and Youth has a great guide on engaging youth in writing. www.ncfy.com/publications/pdf/lbd_write.pdf

There are all kinds of ways to get creative with data collection-digital storytelling, video cameras, blogs, tweets, text messages! Get creative! Use your imagination! Have fun!

Want to learn more from Kimberly? She’ll be on the program this November at Evaluation 2010, The American Evaluation Association’s Annual Conference in San Antonio, Texas.

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