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Getting the picture of home lighting: Adding participant photography to the interview

Maini Gerhardsson, Kiran LU (2016) IAPS 24 (International Association People-Environment Studies p.41-42
Abstract
This paper draws attention to the potential benefits of using photographs in combination with interviews, that is to say photo elicitation. As defined by Harper (2002), photo elicitation is “based on the simple idea of inserting a photograph into a research interview” (p. 13). The photographs can be taken by the researcher or the participant to evoke comments. If participants are asked to produce the photos themselves, the images will hopefully encourage participants to talk and reflect. The objective of this paper is to report on the benefits and the disadvantages of the method deployed in the collaborative interview study, My home lighting.
Daylight plays a vital role for human wellbeing; for example, daylight affects visibility... (More)
This paper draws attention to the potential benefits of using photographs in combination with interviews, that is to say photo elicitation. As defined by Harper (2002), photo elicitation is “based on the simple idea of inserting a photograph into a research interview” (p. 13). The photographs can be taken by the researcher or the participant to evoke comments. If participants are asked to produce the photos themselves, the images will hopefully encourage participants to talk and reflect. The objective of this paper is to report on the benefits and the disadvantages of the method deployed in the collaborative interview study, My home lighting.
Daylight plays a vital role for human wellbeing; for example, daylight affects visibility and regulates the biological rhythm. In the Northern Hemisphere, where daylight is limited from October to March, most people spend their days indoors. Fortunately, to some extent, artificial light can make up for lack of natural light indoors. In addition, new lighting technology has the potential to improve physical and mental wellbeing. A deeper understanding of residents’ current lighting preferences and practices was therefore a good starting point. Since depth and detail was the purpose of the investigation, a qualitative interview study was considered to be the most appropriate strategy. Adding photos to the interviews was assumed to help people talk about everyday objects and habits, such as lamps and the use of light.
The sample consisted of six female and six male residents, 26–76 years. Prior to the interviews conducted at home, participants were asked to take a series of photographs of their indoor lighting with a total limit of 25 photos. All photographs were assembled by the interviewer in an album. The subsequent interview occasion included a walk-through of the apartment for a quick observer-based environmental assessment (OBEA) and an interview which was recorded with a digital audio recorder. The interview was structured with open-ended questions and the photo album was used as an interview guide. When interviewed, the participants were asked to consider each photo at a time and talk about the lamp in the photo—why it had been chosen and how it was used. The data produced—images, OBEA, recorded interviews and notes after the interview—is currently being analysed. The analysis focuses on the comments the photos evoked and the meaning of the lamps represented by the images.
According to a number of studies, making photographs as part of the research method has several benefits, such as the possibility to obtain more information and a different kind of information (Harper, 2002). Photos can be especially effective when they involve something that is visual (Rose, 2007). This could explain why the photos of the residents’ lamps in the current study seemed to work so well. Drawing upon the experience of My home lighting and literature about previous photo interviews, the impression is that photo elicitation, if appropriate to the research question and the objects or practices investigated, can provide more information, a less restrained interview situation and a valuable aid for memory.
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organization
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type
Contribution to conference
publication status
published
subject
keywords
domestic lighting preferences, photo elicitation, qualitative method, photo elicitation, domestic home lighting, qualitative method
pages
1 pages
conference name
IAPS 24 (International Association People-Environment Studies
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
0187b0e8-1657-43d8-b7f6-9c2e3367acc8
date added to LUP
2017-01-30 15:15:33
date last changed
2017-10-25 15:18:24
@misc{0187b0e8-1657-43d8-b7f6-9c2e3367acc8,
  abstract     = {This paper draws attention to the potential benefits of using photographs in combination with interviews, that is to say photo elicitation. As defined by Harper (2002), photo elicitation is “based on the simple idea of inserting a photograph into a research interview” (p. 13). The photographs can be taken by the researcher or the participant to evoke comments. If participants are asked to produce the photos themselves, the images will hopefully encourage participants to talk and reflect. The objective of this paper is to report on the benefits and the disadvantages of the method deployed in the collaborative interview study, My home lighting. <br/>	Daylight plays a vital role for human wellbeing; for example, daylight affects visibility and regulates the biological rhythm. In the Northern Hemisphere, where daylight is limited from October to March, most people spend their days indoors. Fortunately, to some extent, artificial light can make up for lack of natural light indoors. In addition, new lighting technology has the potential to improve physical and mental wellbeing. A deeper understanding of residents’ current lighting preferences and practices was therefore a good starting point. Since depth and detail was the purpose of the investigation, a qualitative interview study was considered to be the most appropriate strategy. Adding photos to the interviews was assumed to help people talk about everyday objects and habits, such as lamps and the use of light. <br/>	The sample consisted of six female and six male residents, 26–76 years. Prior to the interviews conducted at home, participants were asked to take a series of photographs of their indoor lighting with a total limit of 25 photos. All photographs were assembled by the interviewer in an album. The subsequent interview occasion included a walk-through of the apartment for a quick observer-based environmental assessment (OBEA) and an interview which was recorded with a digital audio recorder. The interview was structured with open-ended questions and the photo album was used as an interview guide. When interviewed, the participants were asked to consider each photo at a time and talk about the lamp in the photo—why it had been chosen and how it was used. The data produced—images, OBEA, recorded interviews and notes after the interview—is currently being analysed. The analysis focuses on the comments the photos evoked and the meaning of the lamps represented by the images. <br/>	According to a number of studies, making photographs as part of the research method has several benefits, such as the possibility to obtain more information and a different kind of information (Harper, 2002). Photos can be especially effective when they involve something that is visual (Rose, 2007). This could explain why the photos of the residents’ lamps in the current study seemed to work so well. Drawing upon the experience of My home lighting and literature about previous photo interviews, the impression is that photo elicitation, if appropriate to the research question and the objects or practices investigated, can provide more information, a less restrained interview situation and a valuable aid for memory.<br/>},
  author       = {Maini Gerhardsson, Kiran},
  keyword      = {domestic lighting preferences,photo elicitation,qualitative method,photo elicitation,domestic home lighting,qualitative method},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {06},
  pages        = {41--42},
  title        = {Getting the picture of home lighting: Adding participant photography to the interview},
  year         = {2016},
}