Modifying Photovoice for community-based participatory Indigenous research

Soc Sci Med. 2008 Mar;66(6):1393-405. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2007.11.030. Epub 2008 Jan 8.


Scientific research occurs within a set of socio-political conditions, and in Canada research involving Indigenous communities has a historical association with colonialism. Consequently, Indigenous peoples have been justifiably sceptical and reluctant to become the subjects of academic research. Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR) is an attempt to develop culturally relevant research models that address issues of injustice, inequality, and exploitation. The work reported here evaluates the use of Photovoice, a CBPR method that uses participant-employed photography and dialogue to create social change, which was employed in a research partnership with a First Nation in Western Canada. Content analysis of semi-structured interviews (n=45) evaluated participants' perspectives of the Photovoice process as part of a larger study on health and environment issues. The analysis revealed that Photovoice effectively balanced power, created a sense of ownership, fostered trust, built capacity, and responded to cultural preferences. The authors discuss the necessity of modifying Photovoice, by building in an iterative process, as being key to the methodological success of the project.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Attitude to Health*
  • British Columbia
  • Community Participation*
  • Cultural Competency*
  • Female
  • Health Services Research / ethics*
  • Health Services Research / methods*
  • Health Services Research / standards
  • Health Services, Indigenous
  • Humans
  • Indians, North American / psychology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Power, Psychological
  • Social Change
  • Trust