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Photography for evaluations can be considered an extension of, or variation on, participant observation or document analysis. Either existing or new photos can be used for evaluation purposes and can be analyzed either qualitatively or quantitatively.

It is interesting that photos are an underused form of data for evaluation purposes and that little has been written about them in relation to evaluation practice. Exceptions include Templin (1981) and Hurworth and Sweeney (1996).

Photography is particularly useful in evaluations in which

  • there is a range of activities to be documented
  • program participants are unable to undertake other forms of data collection (such as surveys or in-depth interviews). Examples include small children, non-English speakers, the physically and mentally handicapped, and the general public
  • the visual image would be more “hard hitting” ...
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