1) Poetic - Poetic Documentaries are predominantly based around visual and artistic elements. In a poetic documentary you would expect to see lots of images and film clips, more so than speech and interviews. In terms of sound, they generally have music that would reflect the situation you see on screen, therefor making the audience feel more connected to the documentary. An example of a poetic documentary is Leni Riefenstahl's Olympia (1938), following all the conventions of what you would expect to see within a poetic documentary.
2) Expository - Expository Documentaries are documentaries that expose a person or a topic. They are well known for having a commentator while showing video clips or images explaining the story. The conventions of an expository documentary include, a commentator, factual data, opinions, rhetorical questions and persuasive techniques. To appeal to the audience the commentator will talk directly to the audience. There would often be archive footage or stills to back up the topic. An example of an expository documentary is "Backstairs Billy: The Queens Mum's Butler" This documentary uses lots of footage from that topic and commentates accordingly.
3) Observational - An observational documentary is where the filmmaker follows the subjects of the documentary around without talking to the person they are filming. Normally there are little to no interviews involved in this type of documentary, and the camera used is normally just a hand held camera. This makes the documentary look like it has been made by an amateur filmmaker or so that the audience feel as though its from their perspective. A specific example is the television programme Big Brother, this is a typical Observational documentary in the way that it is constantly following the lives of numerous people.
4) Participatory - This is where the interviewer is in the documentary itself. He interacts with the subjects as if he is being educated in whatever topic the documentary is on. He will ask the subject questions, so we can know more about them. They are directly involved in the film and are a part of the documentary. This type of documentary is the complete opposite of observational documentaries, being very intrusive as opposed to observational being the opposite. An example of this is "The life of Michael Jackson" by Martin Bashir. In this documentary Martin Bashir follows Michael Jackson around, whilst on camera, proving to be a perfect example of Participatory documentary.
5) Reflexive - In a reflexive documentary the film maker acknowledges their presence in front of the camera and provides a narrative to the documentary. The reflexive style of documentary is usually associated with experimental documentaries, where the viewer is just as interested about how the film is constructed as they are the actual content. An example of a film maker who makes reflexive documentaries is Louis Theroux, he is known for his controversial methods of reflexive film making, as he is always in front of the camera, being a physical part of his documentary, often taking part in the activities he is creating a documentary about.
6) Performative - Performative mode of documentary raises questions about what knowledge is. It sets out to demonstrate how the specialties of personal experience provide entry into an understanding of the more general processes at work in society. This is done by stressing the emotional complexity of experience from the perspective of the filmmaker. This form of documentary focus more on the tone and mood of the subject, rather than the arguments and evidence. An example of this is Tongues United.