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Venturing into the visual voice: combining photos and interviews in phenomenological inquiry around marginalisation and chronic illness

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In this article, we present a reflection on the research process of combining photographs with phenomenologically oriented interviews. Two studies in the field of chronic illness with marginalised individuals (lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans* people living with MS; men diagnosed with breast cancer) are employed to illustrate a range of conceptual, methodological and pragmatic issues. Both studies draw upon an integrative theoretical framework within a critical health psychology epistemological paradigm informed by phenomenological psychology and visual methodologies. The data collected for both studies have been analysed through interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA). We offer some thoughts regarding certain challenges and opportunities of synergising verbal and visual data and illustrate our arguments through a series of examples from the two studies, which are critically discussed. We argue that qualitative research in psychology benefits from an enhanced multimethodological approach employing existential phenomenological psychology and visual methodologies, especially when exploring chronic illness in marginalised communities, and we outline benefits for the wider community of qualitative researchers in psychology.
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Keywords: Chronic illness; IPA; critical health psychology; phenomenology; photo-interviews; visual methodologies

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Psychology, De Montfort University, Leicester, United Kingdom

Publication date: October 2, 2017

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