Video-stimulated Recall Conversations: Reconceptualising ethnographic interviews through posthumanism
Interviews as a method in conventional ethnographic research have essentially involved a conversation between the researcher and interviewee. The conventional interview follows a rigorous research process that considers: i) thematising; ii) designing; iii) interviewing; iv) transcribing; v) analysing; vi) verifying; vii) reporting (Atkinson et al., 2001). This conventional approach is maintained through the conversational aspect of the method to an extent, however, the conversation becomes more equal in the posing and answering of questions as the lesson participation video is engaged with, and in considering and responding to the research question. The term ‘conversation’ was previously used by Taguchi (2012) in their study that analysed interview data diffractively to move away from traditional, formal-interviews that seek to confirm sameness and adopt interpretivist approaches to understanding the data.
Video-based methodological approaches are not new and have been used extensively in many fields of research for a variety of purposes (Cutter-Mackenzie et al., 2015; Harris, 2016). More recently, environmental education has pioneered the inclusion of children’s voice through video-based methodologies (Cutter-Mackenzie et al., 2015), however given the purpose of this study in exploring teachers’ perceptions, the teacher’s voice is the focus of the conversational data through video-stimulated recall. Video-stimulated recall has been used in many disciplines of educational research and by many researchers over the last two decades (see, for example, Cutter-Mackenzie et al., 2015; Day, 1998; Harris, 2016; Morgan, 2007; Muir, 2010; Pink, 2012a; Powell, 2005; Rowe, 2009). This method involved video-recording the lesson where the researcher is participant, followed by the researcher and teacher watching the video and conversing about any thoughts, feelings or ideas that arise. The reason for engaging in video-stimulated recall as a method for engaging in conversations with teachers, is that it has been found to i) enhance reflections, promote collaboration between teacher and researcher, provide a context and focus for teachers to articulate their thinking and feelings (Muir, 2010; Powell, 2005); ii) enable teachers to observe their lessons from a new perspective, provide increased opportunities for the teacher to guide the conversation and disclose relevant events in the video that were meaningful for them (Rowe, 2009); and iii) provide a platform for authentic conversations about a particular subject (Cutter-Mackenzie et al., 2015). Although Murris and Haynes (2018a) did not explicitly label their use of video in their study as video-stimulated recall, they did watch the recordings of lessons with teachers to further close any researcher/teacher power-gaps by engaging the teacher in authentic researcher practices to enable a slowing down of what happens in real-time for a more detailed and deeper consideration.
As discussed by Cutter-Mackenzie et al. (2015), some of the key ethical considerations in adopting a video-based methodology, which also apply to this video-stimulated recall method, include “consent, researcher/participant relationships, confidentiality and protection, and data interpretation and analysis” (p. 2) and these are discussed later in this section (see the ethical considerations).
The teachers involved in the study, who are part of the lesson participations, were invited to take part in non-formal conversations through video-stimulated recall as a tool to elicit understanding of their observations and perspectives of the lesson, their perception of nature, their intra-action with the Sustainability Cross-Curriculum Priority, environmental education in general and/or anything else they wanted to discuss that they felt was relevant to the study. This approach to data differs from traditional qualitative techniques such as interviews, as the teacher and researcher informally discuss what the video provokes, and provides a scope for unintended and unplanned conversations (Moxnes & Osgood, 2019). Moreover, the use of ‘conversations’ acknowledges the subjectivity of the data and that the researcher can never really adopt an objective position through which to interpret raw interview data. As described by Jackson and Mazzei (2011), the interviewee has “filtered, processed and already interpreted” themselves (p. 3); as such, the data is always already entangled. The interviewees are not the victim of some ‘thing’ happening to them as they have already made meaning of their experience through what they choose to share and what they choose to silence (Jackson & Mazzei, 2012, p. 3).
The lesson participation video was mostly utilised to prompt conversation about the pedagogies that each teacher was enacting. The length and frequency of the engagement with the video recording varied heavily and was dependent on each participant. The conversations were audio-recorded with the teacher’s consent so I could transcribe and re-listen to the recordings as, when and if needed.