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Using Diaries and Photo Elicitation in Phenomenological Research: Studying Everyday Practices of Belonging in Place

By: Published: 2014 | Product: SAGE Research Methods Cases Part 1
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My PhD study of belonging in place took a phenomenological approach supported by a variety of qualitative methods: specifically narrative life history interviews, written and photo diaries and photo-elicitation interviews. Researching something as intangible as belonging is difficult and I wanted to evaluate the practices people undertake which demonstrate how they ‘do’ belonging, rather than asking about feelings of belonging. This case study explains how and why I made use of a phenomenological approach in researching the everyday. It then shows how the particular methods chosen fit with the use of a phenomenological methodology. The case explores some of the challenges in investigating mundane aspects of daily life, which are increasingly the focus of sociological and geographical research. The focus in this case on multiple qualitative methods leads to a broader discussion of the use of a variety of innovative research methods.

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