Photo-elicitation as method. Its application in a study about autonomy in people with several mental illness diagnose

Felipe Corredor-Álvarez, Lupicinio Íñiguez-Rueda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


The use of photography as part of the methodology in Social Sciences has gained a growing recognition, not only for its technic-methodologic possibilities, but also for the possibilities in new ways of implication between researchers and participants. Photo-elicitation has raised as an important modality, combining photography and interviews. We present the adaptation of this method -basis, application and analysis - in a research about autonomy in the context of labor inclusion of people diagnosed with Severe Mental Illness. Photo-elicitation was combined with Isolated Participant Observation (IPO), a brief immersion on the field to know in first-hand the context researched, keeping registry in the field notebook. We present a context to photo-elicitation and IPO, including background and discussion of its possibilities, the role of photography in the interview and how elicitation raises, following Roland Barthes work. In the second part of the paper we present the application of this methodological device. In the section of design, we explain the followed methodological decisions, concluding in the use of a digital camera used by eight participants, and IPO with three of them. Data were analyzed by thematic content analysis: creation of categories by reading and re-reading (and listening) of interviews, which allows enough flexibility to work with interviews, photographs and field notebook, since the best analysis of photography is the one mixed with the words of the participants, in this context. We finalize with a discussion about the reaches of this mix of technics and its analysis, which allows to promote a personal look in the everyday labor life, which will allow to promote a collaboration in interpretation, while makes the interview more dynamic and fluid.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)175-204
Issue number35
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2016


  • Image analysis
  • Isolated participant observation
  • Labor inclusion
  • Photo-elicitation
  • Photography as method


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