"[W]e found that there were no comprehensive books, videos, reports or compendiums that detailed the historical development of video use for social change and nor did we locate an agreed, commonly used definition of what Video for Change is or means."
During the first half of 2013, the video4change Network (see Related Summaries, below, for further details) worked with a small team of researchers to investigate and identify the opportunities, needs, challenges, and barriers for measuring the impact of video for change initiatives. This process involved two core research activities: a preliminary literature review and a series of interviews with video for change practitioners, organisations, and project funders.
- There are multiple approaches to undertaking video for change, and each has its own priorities and values. The different approaches include: participatory video and community video, social documentary video and film for change, video advocacy, communication for development and communication for change (where video is used), citizen journalism video, witnessing video (including the collection of evidence), change-focused video memes and mash-ups, and youth media (where video is used). Researchers "recognised from our interviews with practitioners that they are not fixed concepts and nor are they mutually exclusive. At the same time, identifying these different approaches was an important outcome of this research since it will help guide the further development of appropriate models for creating and measuring social impact."
- "Impact evaluation" means very different things to different social change actors, such as: outputs (we trained x women and x men; we produced x videos) as well as a combination of outcomes (x trainees were able to produce xx videos; x people watched the video; we received x national media coverage; we had 1,000 people comment online) as well as longer-term impacts (the government agreed to change x policy; the perpetrators of x were arrested; there was a significant increase in x). The researchers found that, because video for change includes so many different models and approaches to change, efforts to find common ground for an impact evaluation framework are complicated. To address this, in the report, the researchers begin a deliberation about what is common among the different approaches to video for change.
- There is no pre-existing impact evaluation theory, model, or framework that clearly fits the needs of the video4change Network. "[W]e examined dozens of Monitoring and Evaluation and Impact Evaluation theories, methodologies, frameworks and approaches. Many were complicated and obtuse; others were highly specific and did not seem relevant to Video for Change."
- There is a desire to share knowledge and experiences of creating impact via video for change initiatives. "In many cases we were surprised that even within the video4change Network there was a lack of knowledge about the approaches/models/projects of other organizations included or in-depth knowledge about the guides/toolkits they have created. The next stage of this project will need to investigate appropriate methods for knowledge-sharing." Researchers suggest that the video4change Network consider which structures, methods and media for knowledge sharing are likely to be "popularised, usable, sustainable and useful to the network and to reflect on what has not worked well with efforts to share knowledge to-date..." and consider "building a space (perhaps within v4c.org) that will facilitate the sharing of 'impact evaluation' experience."
This stage of the impact research will be followed by a second phase in 2014 that will aim to:
- "Improve the quality of Video for Change work and enhance collaboration in the field by developing shared understandings of how video can create impact;
- Raise the profile of Video for Change and promote it as a change-making practice;
- Develop shared evaluation and impact assessment methodologies, resulting in a toolkit that enables video makers and campaigners to effectively measure and understand the impact of their work;
- Build the Video for Change field by improving feedback systems and knowledge sharing via an online space that allows the Video for Change community to share tactics, strategies and lessons learned."
video4change website, May 6 2014.