Analytic Filmmaking: A New Approach to Research and Publication in the Social Sciences

34 Pages Posted: 4 Aug 2014 Last revised: 15 Mar 2017

See all articles by Roy Germano

Roy Germano

New York University School of Law

Date Written: September 6, 2013


New digital video technologies are transforming how people everywhere document, publish, and consume information. As knowledge production becomes increasingly oriented towards digital/visual modes of expression, scholars will need new approaches for conducting and publishing research. The purpose of this article is to advance a systematic approach to scholarship called analytic filmmaking. I argue that when filming and editing are guided by rigorous social scientific standards, digital video can be a compelling medium for illustrating causal processes, communicating theory-driven explanations, and presenting new empirical findings. I furthermore argue that analytic films offer policymakers and the public an effective way to glean insights from and engage with scholarly research. Throughout the article I draw on examples from my work to demonstrate the principles of analytic filmmaking in practice and to point out how analytic films complement written scholarship.

Keywords: analytic filmmaking, ethnographic filmmaking, research methods, qualitative methods, political science, visual methods

Suggested Citation

Germano, Roy, Analytic Filmmaking: A New Approach to Research and Publication in the Social Sciences (September 6, 2013). Available at SSRN: or

Roy Germano (Contact Author)

New York University School of Law ( email )

40 Washington Square South
New York, NY 10012-1099
United States

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