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Research that aims to investigate tacit and mundane practices such as those relating to food and eating is increasingly making use of ‘non-traditional’ social scientific research methods. Visual research and diary methods offer an opportunity to acknowledge and explore the sensory and material elements of everyday food lives whilst also offering participants flexibility and time for reflection, features that are usually absent when using standalone methods such as interviews.
This symposium will draw from three ongoing PhD studies to highlight the strengths and challenges of using visual research and diary methods. The first study is investigating conviviality and family meals across two countries (UK and Spain) using visual research methods with parents and children (Phull). The second study aims to capture the food stories of first-generation Middle Eastern women who have migrated to the UK and is using visual research and illustrative journals and timelines (Lukk). The third study makes extensive use of diaries and the diary/interview method to explore the use of nutrition information by people with type 2 diabetes (McClinchy).
The symposium will begin by highlighting why visual research methods, particularly photo-elicitation and video observation, and diaries or journals can be useful at getting participants to elaborate and articulate on their routine food practices. These points will then be illustrated through presentation of each PhD study including the methodological, practical and ethical challenges that visual research and diary methods can elicit when studying food and eating practices. Such challenges include sensitivities around photographing Muslim women and religious festivals; reluctance to allow an ‘outsider’ to observe familial gatherings and informal meals or to allow children to participate; and practical issues around timely meetings with participants when diary data collection ends. The studies also illustrate the challenges involved in analysing visual and diary data, including issues around ‘translation’ and the loss of data richness with transcription and use of software such as NIVIVO.
Wills and Dickinson will chair and facilitate the symposium and introduce the three PhD papers that will be presented by Phull, Lukk and McClinchy.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jun 2017
EventFifth BSA Food Study Group Conference: Conference: Food and Society - University of Westminster , London, United Kingdom
Duration: 26 Jun 201727 Jun 2017
Conference number: 5


ConferenceFifth BSA Food Study Group Conference
Abbreviated titleBSA 2017
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


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