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The role of triangulation in sensitive art-based research with children

Catherine Vanner (Faculty of Education, University of Ottawa , Ottawa, Canada)
Mary Kimani (Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Maseno University , Maseno, Kenya)

Qualitative Research Journal

ISSN: 1443-9883

Article publication date: 2 May 2017

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to highlight the critical role of triangulation to create authentic analytical frameworks amidst contradictory participant narratives in sensitive art-based research (ABR) with children.

Design/methodology/approach

Multiple qualitative case study research included three months of participant observation, individual semi-structured teacher interviews and open-ended art-based interviews using the Draw-Write-Narrate method (Ogina and Nieuwenhuis, 2010) with upper primary students in two schools in Kirinyaga County, Kenya.

Findings

The art-based approach to student interviews, combined with participant observation and teacher interviews, provided a child-centred process that illuminated students’ understandings and experiences while minimizing risks to participants. Its application requires researchers to recognize data collection and analysis as subjective processes that strongly benefit from triangulation to interpret a diversity of perspectives that may not easily align.

Originality/value

As ABR with children increases in popularity, it is important to identify challenges in the process of analysis and meaning-making. This paper identifies triangulation as a valuable tool for handling the challenge of diverse perspectives from child participants, particularly in conducting sensitive research that may increase the likelihood of contradictory narratives.

Keywords

Citation

Vanner, C. and Kimani, M. (2017), "The role of triangulation in sensitive art-based research with children", Qualitative Research Journal, Vol. 17 No. 2, pp. 77-88. https://doi.org/10.1108/QRJ-12-2016-0073

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited