The Do participatory visual methods 'give voice’? project is an evaluative study of participatory visual methods (PVMs). The findings will add an important dimension to understandings of the sorts of claims that can accurately be made about participatory visual methods. In particular, the findings will contribute to understandings of how researchers understand what ‘voice’ means and how they understand the relationship between participatory visual methods and 'voice’; to what extent people who are involved in participatory visual research consider the participatory methods to express their ‘voice’; and the extent to which ‘audiences’ understand the ‘voices’ of those involved in participatory visual methods.
Increasing knowledge about participatory visual methods in this way will improve evidence-based claims about participatory visual methods, helping us to understand how different groups understand ‘voice’ and whether they perceive methods to successfully allow for expressions of 'voice’. Such knowledge is useful not only for researchers, advocacy groups, practitioners, and students who use these methods.
The overall aim of the study is to explore whether participatory visual methods ‘give voice’ to participants.
In order to achieve this overarching aim, the project has the following specific aims:
The analytic focus areas of the project are participatory visual research methods and ‘voice’ in research methods.
The project’s research questions are designed to make connections between the ways in which ‘voice’ is understood by researchers, participants and ‘audiences’.
The project’s central research question is: Do participatory visual methods give ‘voice’?
In order to answer this main research question, the project will examine the following related questions:
The project has three phases:
Phase 1 explores researcher understandings of ‘voice’ and how PVMs ‘give voice’ to participants.
Phase 2 focuses on whether participants feel that participatory visual methods 'give' them adequate ‘voice’ (or not). This involves individuals feeding back on the extent to which the outputs generated through participatory visual methods accurately represent their ‘voice’.
Phase 3 focuses on ‘audience’ understandings of ‘voice’. Using the outputs from phase 2, it explores the accuracy with which the voices in phase 2 are understood by audiences (such as service providers and the general public).