Research Process

Photovoice, developed by Caroline Wang and Mary Ann Burris, "is an innovative participatory tool based on health promotion principles and the theoretical literature on education for critical consciousness, feminist theory, and a community-based approach to documentary photography” 1,2.

Cameras are provided for people who are often marginalized in community health and social decision making, yet whose lives are greatly affected by those decisions. The cameras encourage recording of important issues and lead to discussion and reflection on the meaning of the images while the images and the accompanying stories assist in sharing people’s expertise for social change.

VOICE is an acronym for Voicing Our Individual and Collective Experience. This approach works from the grassroots in determining what is important to community members. Photovoice moves beyond traditional assessment by “inviting people to become advocates for their own and their community’s wellbeing” 3 (272)

Photovoice References:

  1. Wang, C. (1999). Photovoice: A participatory action research strategy applied to women's health. Journal of Women's Health, 8(2), 185-192.
  2. Wang, C., Morrel-Samuels, S., Hutchinson, P., Bell, L. & Pestronk, R. (2004). Flint Photovoice: Community building among youths, adults, and policymakers. American Journal of Public Health, 94(6), 911-913.
  3. Wang, C., & Burris, M. A. (1997). Photovoice: Concept, methodology, and use for participatory needs assessment. Health Education and Behaviour, 24(3), 369-387.

See also:

Wang, C. (2003). Using photovoice as a participatory assessment and issue selection tool. In M. Minkler & N. Wallerstein (Eds.), Community-based participatory research for health (pp. 179-196). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Photovoice has been used in many countries and with diverse populations. Many other publications are available.