Five Tips from Filmmakers: An Online Instructional Module for Documentary Film Research

Author: Patsy Y. Iwasaki, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, USA
Published: August 27, 2021

Citation: Iwasaki, P. Y. (2021). Five Tips from Filmmakers: An Online Instructional Module for Documentary Film Research, 9(4).


Information about the overall documentary filmmaking process is available; however, there is a lack of literature and educational resources about how to conduct subject research and data collection. As documentary filmmaking becomes an increasingly democratic endeavor due to technology, and information distribution and education use increases, there is a corresponding need for quality resources to support this essential step. In this study, a content-rich, technology-enhanced, online instructional module that was designed and developed in another study to guide and assist beginner documentary filmmakers with subject research and data collection, was implemented and evaluated by the target audience. This module featured five filmmaking tips summarizing professional documentary filmmakers’ wisdom and expertise with subject research and data collection. Motivational and instructional models served as frameworks to inform and guide the study’s learning design process. The quantitative and qualitative findings, field notes and observations provided data triangulation. After analysis and interpretation were completed, the results significantly confirmed the module had a positive, educational impact on the target audience and accomplished its purpose. This module addressed the lack of resources and utilized consultation of experts in content design and development to improve the creativity and production of beginner documentary filmmakers. This project successfully merged learning sciences theory and instructional design with humanities and arts research. It will contribute to the literature of documentary film research studies, the fields of instructional design and education, and the humanities. It has significant potential to influence and impact the broad possibilities of innovative, interdisciplinary research design and collaboration.


instructional design and content development, documentary filmmaking, research and data collection, documentary film instructional module, ADDIE design model, ARCS motivational design concepts