Photovoice as a Pedagogical Tool to Increase Research Literacy Among Community Members

Goldie Komaie, Keon L. Gilbert, Cassandra Arroyo, Melody S. Goodman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Photovoice is a community-based participatory research method that engages individuals to use photographs to reflect on the strengths and issues affecting their community as well as advocate for positive change. This article presents using photovoice as a pedagogical tool to introduce qualitative research methods to community members enrolled in the 15-week Community Research Fellows Training Program in Saint Louis, Missouri. Seventy-eight community members across two cohorts completed individual homework assignments examining social capital and health. Completed assignments were categorized into six general themes and participants took part in facilitated small group discussions by theme. Pre- and posttest surveys were completed; statistically significant improvements were seen in participants’ knowledge of qualitative methods. On a scale of 1 to 5, participants rated the qualitative methods session positively with an overall score of 4.48 (Cohort I) and 4.80 (Cohort II). Qualitative data from session evaluations and exit interviews illustrate completing a photovoice project served as a “powerful” and “insightful” experience that enhanced experiential learning and engaged participants in health-related research in their communities. Participants’ positive session evaluations and increased knowledge of qualitative methods suggest that photovoice is an effective pedagogical tool to increase research literacy among community members. Opportunities to broadly train community members, especially those that are not part of a single community-based organization, may help build broader community capacity and as such strengthen community–academic partnerships.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)108-114
Number of pages7
JournalPedagogy in Health Promotion
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2018


  • community-based participatory research
  • community-based training
  • photovoice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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