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Video in #Eval Week: Cindy Banyai on Putting it in Their Hands – Using participatory video to foster evaluation ownership

Hi! I’m Cindy Banyai, Executive Director of the Refocus Institute – an international collaboration focusing on training and participatory practices in evaluation. I want to share my experience using participatory video to fully bring evaluation participants into the process.

Lessons Learned – how we’re using video: Video is one tool for analysis and expression in what I describe as participatory action evaluation (using action research – cycles of discussion and activity, involving participants in the entire process of evaluation). Evaluation participants come together to decide what aspects of a target program/community they are going to evaluate, design questions and create a video to answer those questions. The group decides what to film, then films it. It can be descriptive or dramatic and the entire process is in the hands of the evaluation group. After filming, the group analyzes the video according to their pre-discussed evaluation framework, giving the images context. The group then agrees on the meaning of the video (collectively coding it), prepares for presentation (editing is optional, since the film is a discussion stimulus not a product of evaluation), and exhibits the video – to the community, program funders, or other potential evaluation group participants. Group members use the video as a tool for discussion during the exhibition, providing analysis and interpretation of the images to a new audience. The evaluator serves as 1) facilitator, guiding the group through technical aspects of evaluation, and 2) observer, detailing the process, content and group interactions, adding another layer to the evaluation (and material for a formal evaluation report if desired).

Hot Tip – It’s not your video Mr. Evaluator! The video can be a product of the evaluation, if the group decides they want others to see it. It is important to remember the video is the intellectual property of those who made it – not the evaluator or the donor/program that commissioned it. If you want to use the video after the evaluation, the group must agree to allow you to use it (a formal agreement may be necessary).

If the video below does not show in your browser or email reader, go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2rOPn9PPC-Q to view it on YouTube.

Hot Tip – taming the technology: iPad/iPhone and iMovieThese are handy, simple to use and easy to teach to others. The price of the devices is coming down, especially for older versions, and to download a simplified version of iMovie (for editing) on them is only $4.99.

Rad Resources: YouTubeThis is a great way to share and now even edit videos. You can also share a group’s evaluation findings with a broader community, if that’s what they want to do. It provides even more interesting potential for doing entirely virtual participatory videos too!

We’re focusing on video use in evaluation all this week, learning from colleagues using video in different aspects of their practice. 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.

2 thoughts on “Video in #Eval Week: Cindy Banyai on Putting it in Their Hands – Using participatory video to foster evaluation ownership”

  1. Nice job, Cindy. For folks who are interested in your perspective–and possibly even for yourself–I would suggest some additional resources. Anthropologists have using techniques like this for some time and the Society for Visual Anthropology can be a useful source. Some filmmakers have also used similar fruitful applications; Born into Brothels and Maxi Cohen’s Inside Voices: South Central LA were exciting products of this approach. Also, some of the work on rapid ethnography available through YouTube and Vimeo can be helpful. I know these blog entries are short and I am sure you have a lot more to share. I would like to know more about your work.

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