Collaborative video data analysis: A great research tool for 21st century theorizing

Angela Wiseman

North Carolina State University

For this blog posting, I want to share some information about how collaborative video data analysis can be a tool for expanding research possibilities. As technology advances, our way of documenting, analyzing, and conceptualizing learning is expanding in so many ways.   There are many new computer programs, technology tools, and web applications that have the potential to increase the way that educators engage in classroom research.

Video-based data analysis, which is currently undergoing a period of rapid development, has the potential to offer new ways of researching classrooms because it encourages collaboration between researchers and classroom teachers.  Computer assisted video data analysis software can further the use of video as a research tool; it has the potential to encourage attention to and analysis of both verbal and non-verbal behaviors of research participants (Coiro, 2009) and encourage collaborative participation between teachers and researchers (Hennessy & Deaney, 2009).  In addition, it provides insight about the complexities of learning while also encouraging new ways of thinking and learning about classroom contexts.

Collaborative analysis between the classroom teacher and university researcher demonstrates what Anderson and Herr (1999) call insider perspective and how it can add to a researcher’s understanding of a classroom context.  There are several reasons why educational researchers should consider using video data analysis as a collaborative research tool.  When teachers and university researchers jointly analyze classroom videos and engage in theory building related to teaching and learning, the ideas that emerge have the potential to:

  • expand collective knowledge by building existing theory
  • provide insight to complex teaching contexts
  • allow for more awareness of contextual factors
  • encourage deeper understanding of the learning that is involved in classroom interactions
  • provide different options for the analysis of teaching and learning
  • incorporate visual modes of representation such as timelines, conceptual mapping, and charts

Research has demonstrated that collaborative analysis with teachers, particularly when they can view and reflect on their own classroom lessons and observe student interactions, can provide insights to the interactions as well as better highlight some of the tensions and complications of their pedagogical approaches (Calandra, Brantley-Dias, Lee, & Fox, 2009; Hiebert, Gallimore & Stigler, 2002).   As Lytle and Cochran-Smith (1999) explain, “The emphasis here is on blurring the boundaries of research and practices as a critical and theory building process.  The larger goal is to create classrooms and schools where rich learning opportunities increase students’ life chances and to alter the cultures of teaching by altering the relations of power in schools and universities (p. 18).”  The significance of teachers’ voices has not been fully acknowledged in academic settings (Noffke, 2008) and there is also a concern that educational research has too little influence on classroom practice (Hiebert, Galimore & Stigler, 2002).  The ideal situation is what Noffke (2008) describes as a synergy where, “…theoretical knowledge is not seen as apart from classroom experience, but as a lens with which to view in new ways events in the practice of teaching (p. 431)”.

In my own research, collaborating with the classroom teacher through the use of video data analysis has been a powerful tool and an enlightening experience.  It has allowed me to support and extend the analysis of the research context and enhance theory building by incorporating multiple perspectives.  The teacher I worked with also felt that it was valuable to be able to work together and understand what was happening with the data I collected on her and her students.

As we consider how teaching and learning are changing in our increasingly visual and technological world, it is important for research to both document and analyze techniques in a way that impacts theoretical pedagogical understanding for the 21st century.

If you are interested in participating in a ning specifically for video data analysis, check out this link!  LRA Video Data Analysis Ning

Anderson, Gary L., & Herr, Kathryn (1999). The new paradigm wars: Is there room for rigorous practitioner knowledge in schools and universities? Educational Researcher, 28(5), 12-21.

Calandra, B., Brantley-Dias, L., Lee, J. K., & Fox, D. L. (2009). Using video editing to cultivate novice teachers’ practice. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 42(1), 73-94.

Coiro, J. (2009). Approaches to Video Data Analysis: Exploring New Methods and Directions for Reading Research. Literacy Research Conference: Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Hennessy, S., & Deaney, R. (2009). “Intermediate theory” building: Integrating multiple teacher and researcher perspectives through in-depth video analysis of pedagogic strategies. Teachers College Record, 111(7), 1753-1795.

Hiebert, J. Gallimore, R., and Stigler, J. (2002).  A Knowledge Base for the Teaching Profession: What Would It Look Like and How Can We Get One? Educational Researcher 31: 3-15.

Noffke, S. E. (2008). “Comments on Bulterman-Bos”: Research relevancy or research for change? Educational Researcher, 37(7), 429-431.