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Wesley Shrum, Ricardo Duque, and Timothy Brown (2005)

Digital Video as Research Practice: Methodology for the Millennium

Journal of Research Practice, 1(1).

This essay has its origin in a project on the globalization of science that rediscovered the wisdom of past research practices through the technology of the future. The main argument of this essay is that a convergence of digital video technologies with practices of social surveillance portends a methodological shift towards a new variety of qualitative methodology. Digital video is changing the way that students of the social world practice their craft, offering not just new ways of presenting but new ways of practicing field research. We introduce concepts of the fluid wall and videoactive context to emphasize that (1) the camera is an actor in the research process, and (2) both behaviour and observation occur in both directions--in front of and behind the camera. While these practices and procedures are novel in some ways, they may also be viewed as old methods in the context of new instruments for recording as well as a new social understanding of these instruments. Since new technologies interact with the social context, the digital video methods we discuss in this essay are likely to become increasingly important for generations to come. We provide an overview of the use of digital video in research practice and present an account of the use of digital video methodology in Chile. 

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