Evaluating the Effectiveness of Advocacy Documentary
Advocacy documentaries are becoming a commonly used means ofdisseminating information and ideas. These documentaries aim to inspire an audience and persuade them to adopt an advocated behaviour or set of behaviours. However, often these documentaries can fall short of their goals as the knowledge and inspiration a viewer gains from watching an advocacy documentary is not translated into action. This thesis explores four methods that advocacy documentaries can use toinfluence individuals to take action and change their behaviour. These include the use of powerful emotive imagery, narratives that transport the viewer, the use of characters with whom the viewer can identify and who can provide examples of behaviour viewers can replicate. The first chapter explores the theory behind these techniques and establishes the theoretical basis that supports these criteria. Subsequent chapters analyse and evaluate four advocacy documentaries in terms of their effectiveness in eliciting change. The creative component of this thesis, the film Saving Ngaio, is the fourthdocumentary analysed. It tells the story of a brown kiwi chick and her struggle forsurvival as well as conveying an underlying conservation message. This documentary is analysed using the criteria established within the first chapter of this thesis and is evaluated on its effectiveness as an advocacy documentary and its ability to elicit change.
Advisor: Johnston, Ross
Degree Name: Master of Science Communication
Degree Discipline: Science Communication
Publisher: University of Otago
Keywords: advocacy; documentary; advocacy documentary; behaviour change; documentary effectiveness; documentary analysis; science communication
Research Type: Thesis