Participant Produced Video: Giving participants camcorders as a social research methods

This toolkit from Real Life Methods provides a guide to using participant produced video in order to allow participants to record their everyday lives and reflect on those things which matter to them.

"Those who do decide to provide participants with camcorders often cite some or all of the following as benefits of the method:

  • Providing participants with camcorders can make it easier for them to record and reflect upon everyday experiences that they might not otherwise notice or remember.
  • Participant filmmakers can access areas of everyday or private life that are inaccessible to the researcher...
  • Giving participants cameras can afford access to their worldviews whilst also giving participants a ‘voice’.
  • Many people also feel comfortable taking photos or films because they are already familiar with the practice. Similarly, video-diary methods can seem familiar and easy to understand because they resemble both the written diary as well as the video diaries commonly used in reality TV.
  • Many participants enjoy the process and find filmmaking to be a lot more fun than, for example, standard qualitative interviews.." (Muir, 2008)


  • Introduction
  • Why give participants camcorders?
  • What kind of film should participants make?
  • Equipment and technical issues



Muir, S. University of Manchester, Real Life Options. (2008). Participant produced video: Giving participants camcorders as a social research option (Toolkit #4). Retrieved from:

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