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“It was a once in a lifetime opportunity”: The Power of Participating in a Video Research Project for Aboriginal Youth Open Access


Other title
participatory video
Aboriginal youth
participatory research
health promotion
arts-based research methods
tobacco misuse
qualitative research
focus groups
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Lukasewich, Megan M
Supervisor and department
Jardine, Cindy (Centre for Health Promotion Studies)
Examining committee member and department
Castleden,Heather (Departments of Geography and Public Health Sciences Queen's University)
Iwasaki, Yoshitaka (Faculty of Extension)
Springett, Jane (Centre for Health Promotion Studies)
Centre for Health Promotion Studies

Date accepted
Graduation date
Master of Science
Degree level
Community-based participatory research (CBPR) and arts-based research methods such as participatory video have proven to be effective in engaging youth in research projects. However, limited evidence exists on how participation in these research projects specifically impacts individuals’ health. Assessment of research impact tends to focus on the intended intervention outcomes, and overlooking the experience of participating in the research process. Moreover, youths’ perspectives of being included in participatory research are rarely explored. Guided by community-based participatory research principles and Indigenous research methodologies, I examined from the perspectives of the research participants, the perceived impact on their health and well-being. Situated within a larger participatory video project, I worked with high school aged Aboriginal youth in grades 9-12 and their schools (K’alemi Dene School, Northwest Territories and Queen Elizabeth High School, Alberta) to explore how engaging in a participatory video project on tobacco misuse impacted the youth participants. Using focused ethnography to guide the data generation strategies, I conducted 11 focus groups at three time points throughout the research project (March/April 2013, May/June 2013, and October/November 2013) with 28 youth and 15 one-on-one interviews pre and post project (April/May 2013 and June/July 2013), with eight adult partners. The research highlighted how engaging in participatory video can contribute to youths’ journey of becoming empowered. The youth participants described how participating in the video project was an opportunity for them to act as health promoters within their school and wider communities. Through the participatory research process, youth increased their sense of belonging, purpose, and agency. These are all assets required for positive youth development. By comparing and contrasting two different locations, the results show how the context and mechanisms of the project influenced outcomes differently. Overall, the youth were positively impacted from participating in a research project focused on tobacco misuse. The findings provide evidence of how participation in participatory video projects has the potential to be a transformative experience for the participants. This study contributes to our limited knowledge on how participatory methods and engaging in participatory research impacts participants during the research process, and extends beyond the intended outcomes. This work provides a starting point to begin understanding the potential impacts of participatory research on youths’ development and empowerment. I conclude this thesis by providing recommendations for future practice and policy changes in CBPR, and participatory health research.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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