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Sgoil Cheumnaichean Saidheans Sòisealta na h-Alba

When Methods Meet

Diary methods and photovoice


This 20-minute film focuses on the potential of these two methods to facilitate the inclusion in research of groups such as people with dementia and people who have had alcohol-related harm. The two methods are not identical, but they do share several features in common, including working with research participants in a collaborative way, on terms which they can negotiate. They also share some common challenges, such as the challenge of potentially being over-intrusive, and also generating material that researchers and potentially wider audiences may find difficult in some respects. The conversation highlights that these two methods have the potential to get at aspects of people’s lives that more conventional methods may not reach, including access to thoughts, feelings and places that are closed off to other methods. The analysis of the data generated by people keeping diaries and taking photographs is discussed as something that is important to be prepared for given the range of issues that can be generated, but the projects in which these methods have been used that are discussed give encouragement to others who may be considering using them as part of their research tool-kits.

Researchers in conversation: Dr Ruth Bartlett, University of Southampton, and Dr Sarah Rhynas, University of Edinburgh.


  • Bartlett, R. and Milligan, C. (2015) What is Diary Method? London: Bloomsbury Academic. A short film by Ruth Bartlett on diary method presented at the 2016 Research Methods Festival can be viewed at Alaszewski, A. (2006) Using Diaries for Social Research. London: Sage. Rhynas, S. (2015) Access to healthcare services for people recovering from alcohol excess.
  • Wang, C. and Burris, M. (1997) Photovoice: Concept, methodology and Use for Participatory Needs Assessment Health Education and Behaviour 24(3) 369-87.


We have created a downloadble resource sheet for this video. It has a transcript of the conversation, the list of references, and suggested seminar questions.