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Audio-diary methods are under-utilised in contemporary qualitative research. The purpose of this paper is to discuss participants and researchers’ experiences of using…
Audio-diary methods are under-utilised in contemporary qualitative research. The purpose of this paper is to discuss participants and researchers’ experiences of using audio-diaries alongside semi-structured interviews to explore breastfeeding experiences in a short-term longitudinal study with 22 first-time mothers.
The authors provide a qualitative content analysis of the participants’ feedback about their experiences of the audio-diary method and supplement this with the perspectives of the research team based on fieldwork notes, memos and team discussions. The authors pay particular attention to the ways in which the data attained from diaries compared with those from the interviews.
The diaries produced were highly heterogeneous in terms of data length and quality. Participants’ experiences with the method were varied. Some found the process therapeutic and useful for reflecting upon the development of breastfeeding skills whilst negative aspects related to lack of mobility, self-consciousness and concerns about confidentiality. Researchers were positive about the audio-diary method but raised certain ethical, epistemological and methodological concerns. These include debates around the use of prompts, appropriate support for participants and the potential of the method to influence the behaviour under scrutiny. Interview and diary accounts contrasted and complemented in ways which typically enriched data analysis.
The authors conclude that audio-diaries are a flexible and useful tool for qualitative research especially within critical realist and phenomenological paradigms.
This appears to be the first paper to evaluate both participants and researchers’ experiences of using audio-diaries in a detailed and systematic fashion.
The purpose of this paper is to investigate the everyday life information seeking behaviours of first-time mothers, as they encounter new, significant and pressing…
The purpose of this paper is to investigate the everyday life information seeking behaviours of first-time mothers, as they encounter new, significant and pressing information needs which arise alongside their new responsibilities.
A qualitative approach combined narrative interviews with participatory methods to facilitate engagement and remain sensitive to the social context.
Mothers particularly valued the experiential nature of information received from peers or family members. However, fear of judgement influenced their use of interpersonal sources, both on- and off-line. Their accounts of information seeking contained instances of confusion, tension, conflict and information overload. Feeling under pressure to be “good mothers”, they withheld information needs from others, including healthcare professionals.
There was a notable absence of younger ( < 20 year old) and/or less educated mothers in the study. This corresponds to previous findings which report that very young mothers are reluctant to participate in support groups with older mothers. They remain an understudied and potentially marginalised group.
The findings show how social support groups can mitigate for societal pressures which impact upon mothers’ information behaviour, allowing them to connect and share information within a trusted environment. The study highlights the importance of healthcare and information services professionals remaining sensitive to such pressures. Relatedly, the finding that public libraries are used very little has implications for audience engagement and service provision.
Focused upon first-time mothers’ information behaviours during the early stages of parenthood, the study provides insight into how relationships and experiences with others influence information seeking behaviours. It provides evidence that fear of judgement can influence information seeking behaviour, helping us to understand why some information sources, although considered important and useful, can be used very little.