"Bring a Picture, Song, or Poem": Expression Sessions as a Participatory Methodology
Participatory research approaches in which participants are placed at the center of the research have been successfully used to facilitate research engagement and open expression. In this article we describe our experiences of using a novel, hybrid participatory methodology called expression sessions (ES) with adolescents. We specifically explain how the ES method was conceptualized and operationalized and offer reflections on the usefulness of this approach. Our study was implemented through 24 focus group discussions with 144 adolescent participants aged 12-17 years old. We found the ES method valuable to encourage active participation, facilitate open and meaningful expressions, and enhance collaborative reflection. Through the ES approach participants had the freedom to choose their most proficient ways of expression, which facilitated reflection and discussion of issues in new meaningful ways. In this article thus we present an alternative, participatory methodology that can easily be adopted by qualitative researchers and with diverse samples.
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