Analyzing Videos

How to Analyze a Video
We look at analyzing and evaluating websites with our students quite often. (In fact, my most recent article is about a student exercise in evaluating bad websites.) I believe we are starting to become fairly comfortable with the standard criteria for website evaluation.

However, websites can involve more than the written word. What about videos?

This is particularly important in an age when YouTube teaches and is a common site for students to surf on.

In preparation for helping students analyze and evaluate a 27-minute one-speaker video, I came up with the following questions. While some of them would have to be altered for videos with multiple speakers, or with no speakers, most of the questions would work for any video.

Criteria for Analysis could include:
Authority of the Video
Authority of the Speaker

Authority of the video:
Where is it published?
Is that a reputable source? What do you know about the source?
What similar publishers or distributors are out there? What is the main rival for this source? How is it different?
Is it clear what organization is responsible for its creation?
Is the organization a reasonable entity to create this video? Why or why not?
Is there a way to contact?
Do they list names and qualifications of the creators?
Is the source for the video stable? That is, can you rely on it being available later?
Production quality
Is the video interesting to look at?
Does the video have only high quality shots?
Are a variety of transitions used?
Does the video flow seamlessly?
Are digital effects used appropriately?
Is the audio clear?
Are all shots in clear focus?
Are all shots sufficiently lit?
Are the graphics appropriate to the topic and theme?
Are the graphics aesthetically pleasing?
Do the graphics explain key points? Do they reinforce key points?
Is copyright information given for all graphics, including permission to reproduce?

Authority of the speaker:
Do we know who the speaker is?
Is the speaker’s main qualification her/his celebrity status? If so, is it a topic the speaker has expertise in outside of her/his fame? Is this a topic the speaker usually addresses?
If not, how do we know who the speaker is?
What does the video say about the speaker?
What does the speaker say about her/himself?
Are the speaker’s qualifications, as given, clearly related to the topic? If so, how? If not, why not?
Are the author’s qualifications for providing the information stated?
Does the video identify a way to contact the speaker?
For the detail of information provided does the speaker appear knowledgeable?
If we do an internet search on the speaker, does s/he come up?
Do the sites that come up on the first page make it obvious which person s/he is?
Do the sites that come up make her/his qualifications clear?
After dong an internet search on the speaker, would a reasonable person feel that s/he is qualified to speak on the main topic of the video?
Does the speaker have particular expertise that is valued by her/his work community?
For academia, what other search might be fruitful?
Does the speaker have academic expertise related to the topic?

Is the information fact or opinion?
Are sources for the information provided? If so, are they recognizable or reputable sources?
Are the sources fairly easy to access so that information given in the video can be checked?
If there are no sources provided, does it appear that the information is based on facts or on emotions or on the notoriety of the speaker? Give evidence.
Are any visuals clearly labeled? Are they legible?
If the research might be original to the speaker, is there any indication that this is true?
Is there any indication that the information has been reviewed for accuracy? If so, how?

Is the point of view of the organization providing the video evident?
Is the point of view of the speaker clear?
Is the relationship between the speaker and the organization creating the video transparent?
Are there visible biases that are off-topic? Are they political, ideological, or some other kind? (Remember, if you agree with the bias, it is often harder to notice.)
If there is advertising, is there clear differentiation between the advertisements and the core content of the video?
Is the entire video an advertisement? If so, discuss what makes it an advertisement and how this is clear in the video.

Is the date the video was created included anywhere?
Is the date the video was uploaded included in an easily visible manner?
Has the video been modified or updated since it was first made public? If so, is this information readily available? If not, how might you find this out?
Are sources for the information given in the video? If so, are they recent?
If the information in the video is time sensitive, is this clearly indicated?
If the information is from another source, is all the necessary citation information available (author, title, place of publication, publisher, date)?

Who is the intended audience of this video? (There may be more than one.)
How is that made clear?
What is the level of the audience? Subject expert, layperson, student?
Will the resource satisfy the needs of the intended audience? Is it sufficient?
Will the audience be able to access the video?
What other likely audience (other than the intended) would also access the video?
Would their reaction be any different from the intended audience?

Is the scope of the video explained in the introduction?
Is the video focused on a single topic or multiple topics?
If multiple topics, are the relationships between these made clear? Do these relationships make sense for the video?
If a single topic, is all the information given related only to that topic? If there is extraneous information, how much is there and how is it different from the main topic?

Is the content available in other forms? If so, is it from the same producers? If not, what are the differences and why might they exist?
If the content is available in other forms, do the other forms exactly parallel the video? If they do not, what are some of the differences?
What advantages does video have over other forms for this presentation?

What is the purpose of the video?
Is the purpose clear?
Does the resource fulfill the purpose?
How does it fulfill the purpose?

teaching experience with added insight from
Video Project Rubric
Criteria for Evaluating Religious Websites
Testing the Surf: Criteria for Evaluating Internet Information Resources

After Analysis, Evaluation:
Once students have analyzed the video, they can use the analysis to evaluate the video’s usefulness, effectiveness, and persuasiveness.

Evaluative questions might include:
Was it persuasive for the audience?
Is its currency level significantly problematic so as to make it irrelevant?
Is the speaker an established authority? If not, is the video still useful/relevant/persuasive?
Was the bias so significant that the video has no or limited usefulness?

3 thoughts on “Analyzing Videos”

  1. Wow. This is a week’s worth of work in my class, but I am totally going to use it. And share it.

    We are using a textbook called “Everything is an Argument” and this will be helpful for students to look at the “argument” of a video.

  2. This is just what I was looking for.
    Teachers need a method for deciding what videos should be shown in the classroom. This also is great for students to analyze a video.

    PS. The rubric link on the bottom of the page is for a video production. I’m still looking for a rubric on analyzing a video to be use with instruction in a classroom. Any thoughts.

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