Thursday, May 30, 2019
Pacific D/L (Hyatt Regency San Francisco)
* noted as presenting author
Introduction.To guide the development of equitable and effective interventions with youth, it is critical that evaluation methods meaningfully incorporate participant voice and experience into prevention research. While there has been substantial interest in advancing innovative quantitative methods for this purpose, less attention has been paid to novel qualitative methods for program evaluation; however, to understand the full impact of our programs, both numbers and story are critical. In addition, current research with adolescents suggests that traditional ‘adult-centered’ qualitative methods are not optimal for enabling a rich understanding of youth perspective, due to the cognitive development still occurring during this period. An emerging qualitative method to more authentically engage youth in program evaluation is visual research. Visual research enables youth to become partners in the research process through the use of photographs or other visual media, facilitating youth empowerment and agency. In addition, a central goal of visual research is to prompt critical dialogue and share findingswith policy-makers and other key stakeholders, goals well-aligned with the mission of prevention science. However, very little prior work has used visual youth participatory evaluation to understand changes in a prevention program. Thus, this presentation will describe the development and implementation of a novel, photo-based evaluation method for youth. Method.We developed the method by reviewing literature on the use of visual research methods with youth. From this review, photovoice and visual storytelling were chosen as the methods for our pilot development study. The pilot study consisted of eight youth participants from a gender-based healthy relationships program. Participants attended a 90-minute introductory session, then took photos to represent what being a guy in their world meant before and after the program. Photos were then discussed during an individual visual storytelling interview and as part of a photovoice focus group. Results. Of the eight adolescents, six completed the pilot study. Adolescents were successfully able to take photos to represent their experiences, and discussion of these photos led to rich and meaningful dialogue about perceived changes. Youth were also involved in public dissemination of their own photos. Participant feedback about the experience of this project was very positive. Conclusions. To enrich evaluation research in prevention science, it is critical that multiple methodologies are used. Our findings suggest a photo-based evaluation method is a feasible and useful way to collect rich data from youth participants. Information from this study can directly guide future research in prevention science.