Eco-maps and photo-elicitation: Reflections on the use of visual methods in social work research with children and young people

Rogers, Justin (2017). Eco-maps and photo-elicitation: Reflections on the use of visual methods in social work research with children and young people. Journal of Applied Youth Studies, 1(4) pp. 59–74.

Abstract

This paper reflects on the use of visual methods in social work research with children and young people. The author draws on their experience of undertaking a doctoral study in the United Kingdom that explored the social networks of young people in foster care. The study used eco-maps and photo elicitation as a way to build a rapport with the participants and to generate detailed qualitative data. This paper presents an overview of these visual research methods whilst considering the benefits and challenges of using them in research with children and young people. The paper highlights how this combination of visual methods facilitated rich, contextualised conversations with these young people about their experiences of foster care. Furthermore, it is argued, that in this study, the use of these methods was valuable as it provided access to data that may otherwise have gone unobserved.

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