Trends in Video-based Research

Curtis LeBaron and Paula Jarzabkowski

The popularity and volume of video-based research is rising. Video-based research is any research that features or includes video as a primary data source. The table below shows results of a keyword search within the most prominent databases for scholarly publications: In recent decades, the frequency of publications making reference to “video data” or “video method” or “video analysis” has increased sharply.

table-AOM-videoIn the 1970s, video was a new and relatively expensive technology that only a few researchers used. During the 1980s, various approaches to analyzing video data emerged within disciplines from which organization research draws (sociology, anthropology, psychology, communication, etc.). However, each approach was imbued with the particular ontological, epistemological and practical assumptions of its field, which has created a fundamental challenge for organization scholars wanting to select the video methods that are most appropriatefortheirwork. In the 1990s and 2000s, video-based research flourished within these social science disciplines.

AOM-Program-videoIn recent years these video methods have taken hold within organization studies as scholars are turning to video as a way to increase the rigor of their qualitative work, and/or build data banks for the purpose of quantitative research. The growing use of such data for organizational analysis is evident at the Academy of Management (AoM), as well as other leading international conferences, such as European Group for Organization Studies (EGOS). For example, the line graph (right) shows the frequency of “video” being listed in the program of AoM’s annual meetings (workshops, panels, symposia, etc.). We thus assert that this wave of video-based research needs to be addressed above and beyond its uses in other disciplines, for the particular methodological benefits and challenges that it poses to organization research.

This post is taken from the SAP Interest Group Newsletter. For the PDF versions of all newsletters see the Resources page.

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