Documentary Film: The Next Step in Qualitative Research to Illuminate Issues of Social Justice in Urban Education

Jennifer Friend, Loyce Caruthers


This conceptual paper explores the unique contribution to traditional qualitative research methodology and urban educational renewal that documentary film can achieve through illumination of issues of social justice and existing inequities in public education in the United States. Through arts-based inquiry, the authors incorporated critical race theory with digital video to explore the truths and realities of schooling for urban students in the Midwestern United States. The purpose of these two film projects was to help educators and community members think more deeply about the socialization of children within institutions, where enduring historical and socio-cultural ideologies may exist. Friend and Caruthers assert that adopting documentary film as a research paradigm creates opportunities to share stories from schools that illuminate diverse perspectives of voice, which can be used to transform school communities.


Qualitative research; Video; Social Justice; Educational Leadership

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