Participatory Photography in Qualitative Research: A Methodological Review

Ellie Byrne, Norma Daykin, Jane Coad

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


This paper reviews the use of participatory photography in qualitative research, drawing on papers published between 1995 and 2011. The review sought to provide an overview of photographic methods used in research. Studies using Photovoice methodology were not included. The search identified 53 reports of empirical studies in which participants were asked to take photographs as part of the research process. The review drew on systematic review methodology but its objective was not to synthesise evidence, rather to generate a narrative critique of the use of photographic methods. Whilst the benefits of using participatory photography was clearly articulated in the literature, there was a lack of detailed reporting on how the methods were used in relation to data analysis and relatively little critical discussion of the limitations of photographic methods. Hence researchers are expending significant efforts to engage with visual methods through photography, but they may not be using photographic data to its best potential.

Publisher Statement: This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages13
JournalVisual Methodologies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • participatory photography
  • photo-elicitation
  • visual data
  • methods
  • review
  • photographs
  • visual methods


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