My name is William Rickards; I am currently senior research associate in the Office of Program Accreditation and Evaluation at USC Rossier School of Education. My career has largely been focused in higher education, although I have worked in program evaluation in delinquency prevention, youth services, and in a range of educational and social services.
Lessons Learned-How I’m using video: Over the last few years I have been particularly interested in the use of video-recording for interviews; in my case, this has usually meant interview studies with students and graduates. Use is primarily as data collection, although I use select segments for reporting to faculty; I do the taping on my own, often with portable equipment.
- In evaluating the use of an undergraduate learning e-portfolio, I interviewed graduates regarding their use of the portfolio to monitor and assess their own development
- In an evaluation for a graduate teacher education program for teachers in international schools, I interviewed the teachers on their paths into international school work to understand how to best meet their needs
Hot Tips—Considerations when using video in evaluation include:
- The video as a particularly rich artifact presents potential challenges in terms of analysis: How will the transcript be handled? How much depth will be included in the text?
- At another level, the video record offers a unique opportunity—and often a stark one—from which to study and hone one’s own skills as an interviewer.
- Additionally, the video artifact can provide material that can be used in reporting, depending on clearances, in presentations, websites, or project videos.
Hot Tips—Taming the technology
- The biggest consideration with the technology (particularly in field settings) will be the microphone. External mics—that plug into the camera—are usually best, even if they must often be purchased separately.
- Data storage and transfer need to be studied in relation to individual situations, equipment, and comfort levels.
- Power will always be a consideration—as in battery life and access to a power supply.
The ethics of informed consent and participation are always a concern, but video complicates this because of participant identity recorded visually. For example, it is standard practice to de-identify data that are being stored for analysis, but this is difficult with video records. These factors need to be considered in the consent and video release forms.
- The American Anthropology Association’s statement on Ethnography and Institutional Review Boards may be helpful in this regard.
- The AEA Guiding Principles are also helpful.
- There is considerable information available on YouTube and Vimeo under ethnographic interviewing that can be useful for evaluation applications (e.g., http://vimeo.com/1269848 ).
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.