"Action": Publishing Research Results in Film


  • Susan Thieme University of Zurich




filmmaking, interdisciplinarity, transdisciplinarity, reflexivity, multi-site research, migration


Researchers commonly disseminate their research findings in academic papers or books that have a selected and limited target audience. A potential method for disseminating the information other than the traditional academic is through film, but this means tailoring the material to this medium and in many cases collaborating with people who have the necessary skills. The aim of this article is to reflect on the experience of making a film from the researcher's perspective. I will in particular shed light on how the filmmaking team worked together and provide examples of the preceding research, as well as the shooting and editing of the film material. The long period of research leading up to the film was a major factor in its success. In addition, all of the people involved have to be willing to share their experiences, recognize each other's expertise and be able to compromise. The film was much more than just an extension of the ongoing multi-site qualitative research. The shooting not only provided new insights into people's lives but also forced me to think much harder about my research and "the fieldwork." The additional costs and efforts related to the film can be justified by a transdisciplinary understanding of research that requires the results to be disseminated beyond academic circles, attract attention from policymakers and activists, and also allow the subjects of the research (who generally do not read English academic articles) to become an active audience.

URN: http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs1201316


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Author Biography

Susan Thieme, University of Zurich

Susan THIEME is senior researcher and lecturer, Department of Geography, University of Zurich in Switzerland. Her areas of specialization are social geography, development and migration studies and more recently geographies of education with a regional focus on South and Central Asia and Switzerland. She has a particular interest in transdisciplinary work and knowledge exchange beyond scientific communities.




How to Cite

Thieme, S. (2012). "Action": Publishing Research Results in Film. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 13(1). https://doi.org/10.17169/fqs-13.1.1671