Combining photographs with interviews in the context of phenomenological research around chronic illness: An evaluation.
Background: Health psychologists’ adoption of contemporary qualitative research methodologies in recent times has enabled the rise of multiple integrative approaches applicable to the study of long-term conditions. Synthesis of visual and verbal qualitative methods simultaneously presents both potential opportunities and challenges, for the researcher and the researched. Drawing on our experiences of two research studies, both of which explore lived experiences of chronic illnesses in marginalised populations from a critical health psychology perspective, we consider some of the advantages and potential pitfalls of fusing qualitative methodologies. Methods: Both studies combine the collection and analysis of verbal and visual data; phenomenologically oriented semi-structured interviews together with photographs authored by participants themselves. One study focuses on 16 LGBT persons living with multiple sclerosis, while the second investigates 31 British men’s lived experiences of breast cancer. The visual component is informed by Photovoice methodology. All data are analyzed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. Findings: Combining the verbal and visual data forms has presented several challenges in both research studies, including epistemological, practical and ethical issues, concerns around ‘methodolatry’, participant comfort and engagement, and best practice for analysing the data. Despite such challenges, our experiences show methodological synergy is both possible and advantageous; allowing for richer understandings by enabling participants to ‘give voice’ beyond talk. Discussion: We discuss some of the benefits and shortcomings of combining verbal and visual data when investigating chronic illnesses. We conclude with recommendations for how qualitative health psychologists might further refine integrative approaches which combine verbal and visual data.
Citation : Quincey, K., Papaloukas, P., Williamson, I., Fish, J., and Wildbur, D. (2016) Combining photographs with interviews in the context of phenomenological research around chronic illness: An evaluation. Poster presented at the European Health Psychology Society Conference, Aberdeen, UK.
Research Group : Health Psychology
Research Institute : Institute for Psychological Science