Introducing DocSCALE from ITVS

February 5, 2021

DocSCALE is a participatory feedback platform that measures impact while engaging audiences

ITVS developed DocSCALE after years of exploring different ways to work with filmmakers, local stations, and engagement partners to understand the impact of our work together and create better conversations, while remaining true to our shared mission of diversity, inclusion, and participatory engagement.  

DocSCALE is a mobile based audience feedback platform that invites people to share insights with one another, with the goal of surfacing a collective wisdom of the crowd: what viewers are thinking, where they agree and disagree, and what they are most interested in going forward. 

How DocSCALE works 

After screening a film viewers are invited to text —or click a link—to begin a survey. There they are given statements from other audience members about the film and rate those statements on agreement or disagreement. They can also provide their own statement for others to consider and rate. The whole process takes a few minutes, providing an opportunity for viewers to encounter other perspectives while gathering rich data: a collection of viewer statements that have been validated or qualified by peers, allowing ITVS and our partners to understand when viewpoints resonate and when they differ.

What makes DocSCALE different

Other feedback platforms do not use this unique, participatory, collaborative approach to validating or qualifying data. With DocSCALE, peers can not only share their own perspectives and see perspectives from others, but also weigh in on the ideas of others with a single swipe or click. Because every perspective is circulated equally, it allows every voice to be equally heard, allowing unexpected insights to emerge—for example, a rare or taboo observation made by only one viewer but ultimately validated by many others. And because it’s built for mobile it can scale to different kinds of settings and groups of any size.

What’s next for DocSCALE

One of the first focus areas for DocSCALE is the Independent Lens Stories for Justice partnership, which unites filmmakers, public media stakeholders, and community partners working toward reform at the local level. We will share future reports on the lessons and insights that DocSCALE finds about how Stories for Justice content helps build understanding, promote dialogue, and inspire reform. Through this work, we are learning more about how to use this new approach to feedback and measurement, while learning from our public television and filmmaker partners on how DocSCALE can support their work. If DocSCALE proves to be a valuable contribution to the field, our hope is that we will be able to continue its development and share it widely with the entire field in the months and years to come. DocSCALE can be experienced at one of our 2021-2022 OVEE screenings for Independent Lens’ programs