The Society for Social Work and Research

2014 Annual Conference

January 15-19, 2014 I Grand Hyatt San Antonio I San Antonio, TX

Using Photovoice in Social Work Practice Research to Enhance Community-University Partnership

Saturday, January 18, 2014: 4:30 PM-6:15 PM
HBG Convention Center, Room 103B Street Level (San Antonio, TX)
Cluster: Research Design and Measurement
Christina R. Miller, PhD, University of Oklahoma, Julie Miller-Cribbs, PhD, University of Oklahoma, David P. Moxley, PhD, University of Oklahoma, Zermarie Deacon, PhD, University of Oklahoma and Gloria Miller, MSW, University of Oklahoma
Community Based Participatory Research (CBPR) methodologies are designed as collaborative, mutually beneficial endeavors between researchers and community stakeholders.  Some postulate that traditional research methodologies fail to elicit useful information because they conduct research “on” instead of “with” communities.  CBPR methodologies were used historically to examine public health and community issues (i.e. Jane Addams and Hull House Maps and Papers), where the melding of researchers, workers in the field, and community members created an environment of collaboration, mutual respect and knowledge sharing (Finn, 1994).  Similarly, CBPR approaches are place-bound where the lab is the community and community partners have both stake and say in all elements of the research, from problem selection to research design, implementation, analysis and dissemination.  Within this model the relationship between partners is long term, with a goal of fostering community change and development (Israel et al., 1998; Hatch et al. (year),; Crucetti, 2000).

Photovoice is a participatory action research model which enables people to identify, represent, and enhance their communities through photographs and stories.  The benefits of this type of research to participants, researchers, and communities are well documented in the literature (Feen-Calligan, Washington, & Moxley, 2009; Wang, 1999; Wang, Morrel-Samuels, Hutchinson, Bell, and Pestronk, 2004; Wang and Pies, 2004).  By understanding the main goals of Photovoice and concepts of how to apply this technology, researchers and participants are able to effectively shape social policy in ways that benefit underrepresented populations. In China, for example, Photovoice was used to demonstrate the needs of rural women, causing policy makers to build daycare centers, initiate midwifery programs, and set up scholarships (Wang, Kun Yi, Wen Tao, & Caravano, 1998). 

Presenters will describe the Photvoice method and its use in social work practice and research, provide examples of three successful Photovoice projects, and illustrate successful project elements and “lessons learned.”  Presenters will provide specific discussion and instruction around the process of developing strong and enduring campus-community partnerships and illustrate how Photovoice provided an avenue toward strengthening the relationship between the campus and community.  The following three projects will provide a context and background for discussion:

·         Example one: documenting environmental challenges and inequities in the lived experience of aging and disability

·         Example two: Tulsa Photovoice, bringing Photovoice into interdisciplinary education while exploring health and health access in neighborhoods

·         Example three: GirlPower, using Photovoice to illuminate the challenges of adolescence

Presenters will engage the audience in a discussion around (1) strategies for joining with communities to engage in CBPR, (2) navigating potential ethical challenges and IRB Human Subjects concerns in the practice of engaging community members as researchers, (3) implementing a Photovoice project, (4) building a career on CBPR at a research intensive institution, and (5) integrating PV and CBPR into the classroom.


See more of: Workshops