Using Video Reporting as a Communications Modality for Federal Evaluation Reports
Horsman, Maurine E.
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The Problem. The problem studied was how the recipient of a training grant such as the Drake Rehabilitation Placement Specialist Program can best report its goals, activities, and achievements to a sponsoring federal agency. Traditionally, final reports have been made in writing. The study focused on whether a video reporting system could effectively convey both cognitive and affective information. Procedure. A video reporting system was designed to serve the purposes of government reports. A video report about the Drake Placement Program using this design was produced. A second version combining the video report with a written summary was developed. The effectiveness of these experimental models was compared with that of the written report prepared by the program administrators. The participants in the study were thirty rehabilitation specialists from five rehabilitation state agencies involved in the assessment and funding of government grants. From this sample, three groups of ten were randomly selected. Group I viewed the video tape, Group II read the written report, and Group III viewed the video tape and read a summary report. A test was designed to determine the level of a viewer’s cognitive understanding of the program. A second instrument was designed to identify viewer attitudes toward the program. Subjects were pre-tested, presented one reporting model and given post-tests on cognitive understandings and attitudinal concepts. Findings. Two analyses of variance were conducted. The first compared the mean changes of the three groups on the cognitive test. The null hypothesis, that there are no differences in comprehension of the project when presented in written form only, in video form only, or in a combination of video presentation and written summary, was accepted. The second hypothesis, that there are no differences in a reviewer’s attitude toward a project when the report is presented in written form only, in video format only, or in a combination of video report and written summary, was rejected at the .05 level. A further comparison of scores, using the t-test, between the attitudinal test for the written and the video/summary revealed no significant difference. A comparison of the attitudinal test for the written and video only was significant at the .05 level in favor of the video presentation using the t-test. The grant evaluators participating in the study were asked to make a professional judgment regarding the continuance or discontinuance of the program presented. In 40% of the cases those reading the written report recommended that the program be discontinued. Those reading the summary and seeing the video report responded negatively in 10% of the cases. None of those seeing only the video report voted to discontinue the program. Conclusions. The cognitive material of a report can be communicated equally well in video format, in written format, or in a combination of the two. However, the study’s findings suggest that a video report will be more effective that a written report in changing attitudes or opinions. The feasibility of a video reporting format hinges on the availability of production funds, access to video equipment and technical assistance. Advances in television technology together with a growing consumer market have established a trend toward lower cost and simplified operation. Government applications are increasing as a result. The findings indicate that a video report can influence an evaluator’s opinion of a program. It was the consensus among the rehabilitation grant reviewers participating in the study that the video presentation provided a more affective understanding of a program than the traditional reporting system. However, they identified the need to include more hard date and critical assessments.
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