Introduction to Research: Using “Photovoice”

T Moran1, H Blackett2,3,4, D Kurszewski3, S Chatwood2,3

Regional Corporation, 2University of Toronto, 3Institute for Circumpolar Health Research, 4Public Health Agency of Canada

What is Photovoice?
Photovoice is used as a research method to tell a story or recognize a specific issue through photography. e images depict struggles or show an individual’s particular view. Photovoice uses photos to explain/address a chosen topic or issue.

Questions we developed to research: “What contributes to good health in Inuvik?”

“Window of Opportunity”
e window being ajar signifies to “keep your options open.” You choose your own path in life and the decisions you make will affect your future. e screen acts as a “filter”, and the dust on the screen represents the “bad” choices you’ve decided not to choose. erefore, making healthy choices leads to a healthy lifestyle.

How did we use Photovoice?
Six youth from Inuvik took part in a 5-day course on “Introduction to Research using Photovoice.” six of us were co-researchers in addressing current issues in our community. We then developed a question to research in Inuvik. Each individual was given a camera and was asked to take pictures of whatever they felt answered the questions we came up with. We then had group discussions about the chosen photos that represented our questions, followed by the photo owner describing how the photo answered the question and what it meant to them. e

“What are the challenges to achieving good health?” “Vibrant, green, healthy…trash?”
Beaufort Delta Region
Inuvik is area of bright green grass is only one of many examples of pollution to the environment. ere is not only a styrofoam cup with a plastic lid, there is also several cigarette butts that can pose a tremendous amount of chemical pollutants that harm humans, animals and the organisms that surround us.


“Good school. Bad for the environment?”
Pros: Safe building (as the old foyer roof collapsed), accommodates K-12 in one building, more energy efficient heating/water consumption; potentially lowering costs.

What are the benefits of Photovoice?
e participant will gain technical skills using cameras and computers. Photovoice enables the individual(s) to express personal points of views, while addressing common themes and issues. Photovoice also increases community awareness, improves individual(s) self-confidence, creativity and self-esteem. Using photovoice also offers an opportunity to influence decisions that affect their lives and may develop a better understanding of the influence of socioeconomic status and culture.

Another opportunity we were able to learn about is interviewing skills
We determined that healthy food choices were affecting health in Inuvik and conducted interviews with hunters to learn more about the benefits of traditional foods. With the help of our instructors, we developed a questionnaire to gain information about hunters and harvesters in our area. We came up with 12 questions that we thought would help us learn more about our hunters and harvesters. e questions ranged from very broad questions like, “How often do you hunt or harvest?” to specific questions such as, “Do you share the foods you have hunted? – If yes, what parts do you share?”

Cons: All the plants and trees that were cut down, the engines running causes pollution in the atmosphere, the blue plastic wrap can be harmful to the environment.

Our group concluded that good health in Inuvik consists of many factors such as freedom, hope, strength, and opportunities, in addition to positive mental and spiritual health. ere are many factors that influence an individual’s ability to maintain good health, such as: pollution, making healthy choices, diet and exercise. However, this may be “easier said, than done.” As a group we came up with solutions that promote good health in Inuvik: youth involvement, acts of kindness, education, and positive encouragement and support to improve self-confidence for community members.

Project funded and supported by:

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