Combining collaging, phenomenology and photographs to meaningfully interact with participants’ creative self-representations

William Day*, Michael Larkin, Rachel Shaw

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study advances the integration of creative and visual methods within phenomenological psychology research. Photovoice is a common visual research methodology used in health research. In studies that combine photovoice with Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis, images often only serve to illustrate the analysis of the interview data, despite being powerful illustrations of participants capturing their altered ways of being-in-the-world. As researchers, how can we engage more meaningfully with participants' self-representations?

This paper explores the analysis of visual materials created by participants by treating their photographs as interpretable data, separate from their interview data. Further innovations are present in the communication of qualitative findings. In a continued commitment to the visual, analytical findings are shown through collages of participants’ photographs. These novel approaches are demonstrated through an exploration of how participants employ photographs to depict their day-to-day experiences of living with 'unseen' chronic health conditions whilst navigating UK health-based welfare systems. Collaging is used within a phenomenological analysis to visually illustrate the features of these experiences.

While delving into the differing ways of understanding made possible through creative methods, we argue that visual displays of analyses offer new avenues for demonstrating and creating impact in qualitative research.
Original languageEnglish
Article number100135
Number of pages12
JournalMethods in Psychology
Early online date5 Feb 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 5 Feb 2024

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2024 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (

Data Access Statement

Data will be made available on request.


  • Phenomenology
  • Collage
  • photovoice
  • IPA research
  • welfare
  • chronic illness


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