Establishing methodologies for the analysis and development of interactive documentary

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


This work explores the interactive documentary as a hybrid, emergent cultural
form that has been shaped by the growth of digital interactive entertainment. Through investigation and analysis of the historical background of documentary, the research discusses the development of documentary film, examining the notions of truth, objectivity and authorship in factual media, and their relationship with existing understandings of interactivity. Critical parameters are then derived to objectify the process of deconstructing interactive and documentary media forms. An inclusive view is taken on the categorisation and classification of interactive documentary, informed by the fundamental constructs of both traditional documentary and interactive media. The constructs and structures of interaction and narrative are highlighted to facilitate the identification and examination of existing examples of factual interactive entertainment– from computer generated documentary games to navigable filmic forms. The thesis proposes a range of characterisation frameworks for the study of interactive documentary and these are applied towards case study analysis of sixteen interactive productions. The final work presented in this thesis proposes a theoretical framework for the analysis and development of immersive, interactive documentary experiences, encompassing the processes of content creation and consumption from the perspectives of both audience and director.
Date of AwardSep 2013
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorEuan Dempster (Supervisor), Iain Donald (Supervisor), Kenneth McAlpine (Supervisor) & Lachlan M. MacKinnon (Supervisor)


  • Documentary
  • Interactive
  • Computer Games
  • Audiences
  • User
  • Interaction

Cite this