What is it about?

In this publication, we introduce readers to Collaborative Filmmaking, which is a participatory research method in which participants are trained to create, analyze, and screen their own films to address a research question. We also share a case study to help illustrate the six steps of the method, and discuss strengths and challenges associated with the method.

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Why is it important?

This new and innovative method builds upon previous work in visual methods, arts-based research and ethnographic filmmaking, and brings the strength of visual methods to the field of public health. The method is participatory in nature, in which participants not only create their own films, but they also support researchers with analyzing their own footage, and voice their views on the best approaches for sharing the results as an advocacy or awareness raising tool. This new method will allow public health researchers to develop a more nuanced and sensory understanding of health behaviors and beliefs.


While developing Collaborative Filmmaking, and working in partnership with a group of adolescent girls in far-west Nepal, it became clear that incorporating participant views and voices through all stages of the research process is critical for ownership of the final research product, and ensuring that the results are situated in the local context. The results of this study demonstrate that participants are well-positioned as tellers of their own stories and experiences. Collaborative Filmmaking offers an opportunity to harness these voices for a deeper and more authentic understanding of health behaviors.

Sara Baumann
University of Pittsburgh

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Collaborative Filmmaking: A Participatory, Visual Research Method, Qualitative Health Research, July 2020, SAGE Publications,
DOI: 10.1177/1049732320941826.
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