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To what extent can interactive documentaries affect the engagement of secondary school children?: Interactive media documentaries and engagement
University of Skövde, School of Informatics.
2015 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Interactive documentaries are achieving fame and many people are engaging in the technology. However minimal research means the benefits of interactive documentaries remain unexplored. This project investigates the actual benefit of interactive documentaries. It also relates to exploring the benefits of this genre and studying how interactive media can engage youths.          

The hypothesis studies how films implement interactive functions and whether this implementation is a positive or proactive influence on the user’s engagement. Additionally, it will be argued that the interactive narrative gave a more positive effect on the young audience than was recorded for the TV documentary.  In particular, and since it is the targeted audience of the research project, the study will discuss how youths paid more attention to the narrative, were motivated to explore the artifact or object in question, and facilitated mood change allowing greater expression and understanding of the subject. It is argued that interactive functions can provide these effects because they allow a user to go inside the content (Manovich 2000, 206). In other words, the user’s participation becomes active rather than passive within interactive media content.

To address the research question, a research plan was put in place and is as follows:

  • A short web documentary was created, with Interactive functions, and evaluated with the target audience.
  • An identical film was produced without interactive functions.
  • Both versions were presented to the target audience, and interviews were conducted to monitor and evaluate audience participation. 
  • The results were summarized with comparison and analysis for study presentation.

The production of a film was required to describe interactive functions. Another film formed content for a chosen short documentary about the cultural history of an archeological item. This documentary is available in Västra Götaland Museum at Skara and focuses on when, where and how the archaeological item was found and what it symbolized in terms of cultural significance. The documentary film had a chronological narration, including archive photographs, videos materials, and also featured an interview. One particularly interesting story was chosen from a number of Museum pieces. It should be noted that the Västra Götaland Museum had a website which was popular viewing for a significant numbers of teenagers. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. , 36 p.
Keyword [en]
interactive media
National Category
Studies on Film
URN: urn:nbn:se:his:diva-11255OAI: diva2:831199
Subject / course
Media, Aesthetics and Narration
Educational program
Media, Esthetics and Narration - Master’s Programme 60 ECTS
Available from: 2015-07-01 Created: 2015-06-30 Last updated: 2015-07-01Bibliographically approved

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