The purpose of this paper is to consider the challenges of using participant-produced photographs in family food research.
Families participating in a study on family dinners agreed to take photos of their weekday evening meal using their mobile phone and a Selfie-Stick. These images were subsequently used as a photo elicitation cue in a long interview.
“Selfies” or participant directed photographs, are a way to involve all family members in the research. Giving participants control over the composition and production of the image reveals how participants see themselves and how they wish to be seen while uncovering some of the physical, material and social realities of contemporary family practice. Photographs not only capture rich contextual and spatial details but also act as an aide memoir and interview stimulus to investigate broader socialisation around family feeding. Visual images reveal otherwise unrecalled aspects of the family dinner and encourage more reflection and discussion by participants around the social realities of their family practice. Photographs taken using a mobile phone and selfie stick complement and stimulate traditional methods of qualitative investigation.
The paper contributes to the debate about the challenges in using visual methods and how the selfie technique can be used, the photographs shared and visual data incorporated as part of the research method. As communicative affordances, the mobile phone, camera and selfie stick frame the practices around family dinner and afford the subject an agentic perspective as both producer and consumer of the image.
The authors would like to acknowledge that this research project “The Family that eats together: Images of commensality across two cities” was funded under the University of Sydney-University of Edinburgh Partnership Collaboration Awards (PCA) August 2017- August 2018
Marshall, D. and Davis, T. (2020), "Selfie stick accounts: extending and engaging visual methods in contemporary family practice", Qualitative Market Research, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/QMR-03-2019-0047Download as .RIS
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