Analysis of Videotaped Data: Methodological Considerations

  • Janice M. Morse University of Alberta
  • Charlotte Pooler University of Alberta


Using videotaped data as the sole source for a study produces unique challenges that have not been fully addressed in the literature. Our particular interest was the analysis of videotaped data in which the scene–that captured within the frame–is the sole source of data. The researcher does not have access to interviews or other interpretive data to provide the participants’ perspective, therefore analysis relies on the actions of the participants as they occurred. When recording video data in this manner, nothing is manipulated or staged for the recording. The challenge for the researcher is to describe and to analyze the scene as it stands. How does one make sense of such data? And how can one be assured that the research interpretation is correct? We argue here that the level and accuracy of interpretation possible depends on the context–on what is being studied, and what is known about the topic of interest. In this section, we will address issues inherent in analysis of sole source videotaped data, with particular attention to the selection and use of a scaffold for analysis. The example that we use is a study that came later in the research program: a secondary analysis of videotaped data to explore nurse-patient-family interactions in a trauma-resuscitation room of the Emergency Department (Morse & Pooler, 2002).