10: Primary data collection: creative methods


Creative methods of collecting data draw on the imagination of participants and researchers. There are myriad options available and as this chapter can only cover a few it tries to demonstrate the diversity on offer by presenting a range of examples. The chapter points out that all methods were once considered ‘creative’ and warns against the use of creative methods for their own sake. The creative data collection methods described are: online; smartphones; enhanced interviews and focus groups; diaries, field notes, journals and logs; visual data; mapping; mobile methods; case studies and collaborative methods. Each method is described in detail, and a list of pros and cons provided, to help guide and inspire researchers in the use of creative methods to address their specific research question. The chapter closes with an update of the case studies followed by exercises, discussion questions and a debate topic.

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