Presentation Title

Exploring Critical Hope and Agency Through Photovoice

Start Date

April 2020

End Date

April 2020

Major Field of Study

Education

Student Type

Graduate

Faculty Mentor(s)

Matthew E. Davis, PhD and Katherine Lewis, PhD

Presentation Format

Oral Presentation

Abstract/Description

There have been multiple studies including youth in participatory action research (Wang, 2006). Little research has been done, however, connecting youth participatory action research to students’ hope and sense of agency in the context of both learning environments and the community at large. Furthermore, there is a lack of existing studies that assess young students’ critical awareness of how social power operates in our culture and in their lives (Christens, Byrd, Peterson, & Lardier, 2018). There is also limited research on how students’ hope and agency affect the both social and achievement dynamics within a school (Dixon, Worrell, & Mello, 2017). These gaps are particularly pertinent to Latinx students, given that dominant discourse often presents them through a deficit lens, which can also lead to internal and normed oppression (Monzo, 2016).

Participatory action research and photovoice methodology provided eight of the researcher’s fourth- and fifth-grade students – most of whom live in a predominantly Latinx neighborhood in socioeconomically disadvantaged circumstances, situated within a predominantly white and affluent county – with the opportunity to engage in critical analyses of perceived injustices and their relation to power structures.

The researcher conducted a convergent mixed methods study with transformative and pragmatic worldviews at an elementary school in northern California. It involved the collection of both qualitative and quantitative data. This study focused on student responses to two question series, presented in survey and interview format for breadth of substantive data. It also focused on student experience participating in a photovoice project. To this end, the questions were formed based on the following central questions: How do students’ understandings of systemic inequities and power influence their hope and sense of agency? How does participatory action research, and photovoice methodology in research, impact students’ hope and sense of agency?

The findings suggest a correlation between taking part in participatory action research (specifically via photovoice methodology) and an increase in hope and agency. Emerging themes include differing perceptions regarding the fairness of power on a national versus local scale, and the importance of participants feeling heard and valued.

Comments

This presentation was accepted for the Scholarly and Creative Works Conference at Dominican University of California. The Conference was canceled due to the Covid-19 Pandemic

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Exploring Critical Hope and Agency Through Photovoice

There have been multiple studies including youth in participatory action research (Wang, 2006). Little research has been done, however, connecting youth participatory action research to students’ hope and sense of agency in the context of both learning environments and the community at large. Furthermore, there is a lack of existing studies that assess young students’ critical awareness of how social power operates in our culture and in their lives (Christens, Byrd, Peterson, & Lardier, 2018). There is also limited research on how students’ hope and agency affect the both social and achievement dynamics within a school (Dixon, Worrell, & Mello, 2017). These gaps are particularly pertinent to Latinx students, given that dominant discourse often presents them through a deficit lens, which can also lead to internal and normed oppression (Monzo, 2016).

Participatory action research and photovoice methodology provided eight of the researcher’s fourth- and fifth-grade students – most of whom live in a predominantly Latinx neighborhood in socioeconomically disadvantaged circumstances, situated within a predominantly white and affluent county – with the opportunity to engage in critical analyses of perceived injustices and their relation to power structures.

The researcher conducted a convergent mixed methods study with transformative and pragmatic worldviews at an elementary school in northern California. It involved the collection of both qualitative and quantitative data. This study focused on student responses to two question series, presented in survey and interview format for breadth of substantive data. It also focused on student experience participating in a photovoice project. To this end, the questions were formed based on the following central questions: How do students’ understandings of systemic inequities and power influence their hope and sense of agency? How does participatory action research, and photovoice methodology in research, impact students’ hope and sense of agency?

The findings suggest a correlation between taking part in participatory action research (specifically via photovoice methodology) and an increase in hope and agency. Emerging themes include differing perceptions regarding the fairness of power on a national versus local scale, and the importance of participants feeling heard and valued.