PhotoVoice, or Photo Novella, is a creative approach to participatory action research. The PhotoVoice method brings the voices of those traditionally less heard to the forefront. Through the use of images and connected stories, patient/public partners can empower themselves by sharing their stories and realities. Also, the photos and stories help to shed light on their lived experiences. The images and stories also become a tool to raise awareness in the community by helping members of the public see the world through the lenses of the patient/public partners. In the case of patient/public engagement in health research, the PhotoVoice method can be used to help inform research decisions such as identifying research priorities or outcome measures that matter most to patient/public partners and integrating these priorities or outcome measures into the research project.


PhotoVoice can be useful for:

  • Representing real life stories and voices of patient/public partners, which can be used to help inform research decisions such as research priorities or health outcomes that matter most to people with lived experience.
  • Empowering patient/public partners to reflect on their strengths and concerns; in turn helping to inform research decisions around areas of priority that the community believes should be investigated further in the research project.
  • Promoting critical dialogue and knowledge sharing about important community issues through large and small group discussions of photographs and attached stories.
  • Strengthening relevance, value and importance of research project by ensuring responsiveness to needs of patient/public partners.
  • To reach policy makers and others who can help mobilize for change.


Additional Resources:

1. A Practical Guide to Photovoice: Sharing Pictures, Telling Stories and Changing Communities

2. Photovoice: A Participatory Action Research Strategy Applied to Women's Health


Photovoice Examples:

Homelessness (Wang and Burris 1997)

Indigenous research (Castleden et al. 2008)

Mothers with learning difficulties (Booth and Booth 2003)

Social and health issues of women (Krieg 2008McIntyre 2003)

Social and health issues of youth (Strack et al. 2004Wang 1999)

Youth with disabilities (Whitney 2006)