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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Pittsburgh: Scientists Identify Benefits, Challenges to Using Film in Public Health Research

The research community is increasingly recognizing video as more than just a medium to disseminate scientific findings after a study’s conclusion. A powerful tool, film can engage study participants and become an integral part of the scientific process, when deployed thoughtfully.

To guide this emerging practice, University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health scientists performed the first review of studies on use of film in public health research, reporting their findings in the journal Qualitative Health Research.

“Film can add a powerful dimension to public health research with its ability to capture nuance in opinions, emotions and spaces that often are beyond the scope of more traditional methods, such as multiple-choice surveys,” said lead author Dr. Sara Baumann, postdoctoral researcher at Pitt Public Health. “But our review also raises some important ethical and logistical challenges that must be considered.”

Dr. Baumann and senior author Dr. Jessica Burke, professor and associate chair of Pitt Public Health’s Department of Behavioral and Community Health Sciences, have been using video in their research for several years, through a method they developed called “collaborative filmmaking.” Their technique uses filmmaking to engage participants throughout all stages of the research process.

To learn more about the use of film in public health research, the authors identified 20 peer-reviewed public health studies incorporating the use of film that described opportunities and challenges.

Read about the results.

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