Involving, Sharing, Analysing—Potential of the Participatory Photo Interview


  • Bettina Kolb University of Vienna



visual sociology, participatory photo interview, involving participants of research, visual data


This article discusses the photo interview method used in a participatory inter- and transdisciplinary research setting. The photo interview has proven particularly useful for sustainability and environmental studies in which eliciting community points of view is crucial to the research effort. Based on experiences in several countries, the author describes and analyses the photo interview process and its three phases—involving, sharing and analysing—and explores potential influences on data quality. In the first phase, researchers use the photo interview method to involve community residents from different levels of society in the research process. In the second phase, the photo interview method encourages community residents and scientists to share insights and perspectives and to partner in developing a common understanding of local structures, processes, and possible solutions. In the third phase, the photo interview method allows researchers to analyse visual and textual data as a representation of a local societal context. In decoding images, researchers ground the analysis in subjective perspectives, use residents' visual codes along with other methods to further analyse community data, and explore the wider societal context in which the study is embedded. URN: urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs0803127


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Author Biography

Bettina Kolb, University of Vienna

Bettina KOLB is working since many years with the visual method of photo interview and developed the method to the participatory photo interview as a sociological tool for inter- and transdisciplinary research. She is lecturer in Department of Sociology/ University of Vienna and social scientist in Oikodrom, The Vienna Institute for Urban Sustainability. Research fields: visual sociology, participatory photo interview, health promotion, social sustainability, combining health aspects with sustainability, social aspects of public space




How to Cite

Kolb, B. (2008). Involving, Sharing, Analysing—Potential of the Participatory Photo Interview. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 9(3).



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