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Video in #Eval Week: Corey Newhouse on Using Video as an Elicitation Technique

Hi there. I’m Corey Newhouse, the Founder and Principal of Public Profit, based in Oakland, California. We help public service organizations measure and manage what matters.

Lessons Learned – how we’re using video: Public Profit uses video in our evaluation of the Partnerships for Learning (PFL) initiative of the National Equity Project.

We use video as an elicitation technique in our teacher interviews. That’s a fancy way to say that we take video of PFL teachers in the fall, and then show the footage again to them during a follow-up interview in the spring. When teachers can see themselves in the classroom, they are able to be very specific about the ways in which their practice has changed while receiving coaching from PFL, and helps outsiders (including us!) better understand the changes they describe.

We work with a professional videographer to get high quality footage, and usually edit the video in-house. We have also taken our own video using inexpensive handheld cameras. If you chose to shoot your own footage, invest in a lapel microphone, as it makes a big difference in the quality of the footage.

Hot Tips – integrating video in evaluation: Enhancing subjects’ ability to recall their performance improves the quality of our interview data, particularly when we’re interested in such a complex phenomena as teaching.

Plus, we have video of teachers’ practice to share, improving the explanatory value of our reports.  Speaking of, here’s a clip of teachers’ practice, along with their reflections on their work with students. If you can’t view the video below in your browser or email, you can view it directly at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Huw9IYY8hO4.

Lessons Learned – when and when not to use video: Take time to negotiate with your client – and their clients, if needed – about when videotaping will take place, and how it will be used. This will help to put your subjects at ease and assure that the shoot day runs more smoothly. A one-page description of your video project is a really useful conversation starter.

Hot Tip – taming the technology: It pays to plan when taking video! Collaborate with your team (including a videographer, if you have one) on a moment-to-moment calendar for your shoot day, including what kind of footage will be taken and when. While shooting, make notes to yourself about when particularly important moments were taped so that you can find the footage easily during editing.

Rad Resources: Video in Qualitative Research by Heath, Hindmarsh, and Luff, is an exceptionally helpful guide to those of us new to using video in evaluation.

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.

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