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'Look, that’s me!' an analysis of photography as a method of exploring children’s lived experiences of chronic illness.

Close, H. (2006) ''Look, that’s me!' an analysis of photography as a method of exploring children’s lived experiences of chronic illness.', Royal College of Nursing International Research Conference. York, England, 21-24 March 2006.


This paper explores the dimensions of a methodological issue, namely ‘photo-elicitation’, used in a qualitative study into the lived experiences of chronically ill children. Photographs taken by the researcher are commonly used in ethnography and anthropology (Hurworth, 2003). It is much less common to ask participants to take the photographs themselves (Percy, 1995; Riley & Manias, 2004). This relatively underused method allows for the joint creation of meanings and interpretations of data in a way that shifts the balance of power towards the child as an active and competent interpreter of data. Exploration of the use of photo-elicitation contributes to the development of knowledge about a research method that is consistent with the current desire within health care to access the experiences and wishes of patients and has the potential for further exploration with other participant groups. This paper will examine: • A theoretical rationale for the use of photography • Practical and ethical issues surrounding the use of photographs as data • Strengths and limitations of the use of photoelicitation with children Implications for future research with other vulnerable groups Children (n=9) between the ages of 8-17 years were given disposable cameras and asked to take pictures of anything in their lives that was important to them which then formed the basis for grounded theory interviews (n=15). The fact that the children chose the subject matter and took the pictures themselves ensured that emerging themes were culturally and socially meaningful to the child rather than the researcher. The use of photoelicitation proved to be an effective way of allowing children to engage with the research process in a meaningful, fun and non-threatening way.

Item Type:Conference item (Paper)
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Record Created:11 Aug 2010 13:35
Last Modified:16 Mar 2011 09:57

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