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Identity boxes: using materials and metaphors to elicit experiences

Brown, N; (2019) Identity boxes: using materials and metaphors to elicit experiences. International Journal of Social Research Methodology , 22 (5) pp. 487-501. 10.1080/13645579.2019.1590894. Green open access

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Abstract

This paper considers the use of identity boxes as a data collection method to elicit experiences. Participants were asked to respond to questions using objects to represent their answers. The rationale for using identity boxes was to allow for a more embodied, less textual approach. The identity boxes were then also used to create an artistic installation as one form of data analysis. The reflection section in this paper shows that the approach posed potential risks around the emotional vulnerability of participants, with participants experiencing the project as cathartic and therapeutic. Some participants struggled with the process of thinking through objects as difficult. Although using a less conventional approach to research led to deeper, richer reflections and thus relevant, interesting data, concerns were raised around relevance, generalisability, and more generally the evaluation of the research. The paper concludes with a reconsideration of the identity boxes as a method.

Type: Article
Title: Identity boxes: using materials and metaphors to elicit experiences
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1080/13645579.2019.1590894
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1080/13645579.2019.1590894
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: metaphorical representation, experiences, identity boxes, elicitation, creative methods, creative research, arts-based research, arts-based analysis
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Arts and Sciences (BASc)
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10069501
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