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Researching sensitive issues: a critical appraisal of ‘draw and write’ as a data collection technique in eliciting children’s perceptions

Sewell, Keira (2011) Researching sensitive issues: a critical appraisal of ‘draw and write’ as a data collection technique in eliciting children’s perceptions International Journal of Research and Method in Education

Record type: Article


The draw-and-write technique for collecting data relating to both adult and children’s perceptions of their world is receiving increasing attention as one which has status within the field of visual methods. Whilst used largely within health and social sciences research, recent studies have demonstrated its value in eliciting views around organisations and organisational change. This paper appraises the draw-and-write method and reflects on the methodological lessons learned by using the technique in two studies conducted in England which aimed to elicit children’s perceptions of sensitive issues: transition from primary to secondary school and the management of bully/victim problems. The paper concludes that this method can be valuable in eliciting children’s perceptions and emotions, in building rapport and in promoting inclusive and participatory research. However, it also argues that using this method presents a number of challenges, namely analysis of data and ethical approaches, particularly with regard to the participants’ right to withdraw. It concludes that it is difficult for this method to stand in isolation and that the role of drawings as both process and product means that the construction and interpretation of images may result in a within-study shift between poststructuralist and semiotic paradigms which requires researchers to adopt accompanying methods, such as interviews, which will acknowledge this shift and enable participant voice to be fully captured.

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Accepted/In Press date: 2011


Local EPrints ID: 168097
ISSN: 1743-727X
PURE UUID: 86204ba7-91d8-4bf4-8d13-eb1c3dd09860

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Date deposited: 04 May 2011 14:05
Last modified: 18 Jul 2017 12:23

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Author: Keira Sewell

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