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  • Writer's pictureACET, Inc.

Using Reflexive Photography in Evaluation

ACET often works with communities that value oral traditions. Collecting and sharing information that’s visual often is an effective qualitative evaluation technique for program implementation. One way to do this is by using photography as an evaluation method. Some benefits of photo methods include[1]:

• Facilitating conversation and storytelling;

• Building rapport and relationships; and

• Enhancing participant engagement.

Photography can be used in many different ways in evaluation, and the method ACET recently employed was a method known as reflexive photography, which also is participatory in nature. This method involves giving participants each a camera and having them take photographs in response to a specific question. For example, a single question could be: What food do you eat at family gatherings? What are some traditional foods you like to make at home?

Participants then capture two to three photographs between meetings for each question. Participants are free to photograph anything they think is relevant to the topic at any point throughout the day.

Evaluators have found that reflexive photography is a technique that’s highly effective with participants who speak English as a second language or who are from marginalized cultures.[2]

Reflexive photography creates a relaxed environment because participants are not required to present formally or be graded on their material. Instead, participants are encouraged to discuss what they see themselves by the photos they take, giving evaluators more in-depth information that they might not otherwise hear.

If you’re interested in having ACET use reflexive photography in an evaluation, please contact us at We offer a free initial consultation!

[1] Hurworth, R. (2004). Photo-Interviewing. Qualitative Research Journal 4(1), 73.

[2] Hurworth, R., Clark, E., Martin, J., ad Thomsen, S. (2005). The Use of Photo-Interviewing: Three Examples from Health Evaluation Research. Evaluation Journal of Australasia 4(1, 2), 53.

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