Co-producing Video Diaries: The Presence of the “Absent” Researcher

  • Barbara Ellen Gibson University of Toronto


Video diaries are said to provide a more “direct” understanding of participants’ experiences than is afforded by data that are “controlled” by the researcher. In this article, the author problematizes this viewpoint and argues that personal video accounts are socially located constructions that are produced in response to a specific research context. Using examples from research that examines identity with young men who have severe physical impairments, she illustrates these effects and the role of the researcher in co-producing video accounts. Rather than viewing this as problematic, she suggests that examining how participants construct their video accounts as situated research participants provides a valuable source of analyzable data. The author outlines a method for interrogating video accounts that builds on these foundational assumptions.