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Visual methods and the World Technique: the importance of the elicitation interview in understanding non-traditional students’ journeys through university

Mannay, Dawn ORCID: and Edwards, Victoria 2015. Visual methods and the World Technique: the importance of the elicitation interview in understanding non-traditional students’ journeys through university. [SAGE Research Methods Datasets]. SAGE Publications. Available at:

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This dataset exemplar will help individuals and research teams explore the steps involved in analysing the visual data produced in using an adaption of Margret Lowenfeld’s (1979) ‘world technique’. The dataset exemplar focuses on research undertaken in Wales, UK, as part of the project ‘University Challenge: How can we foster successful learning journeys for non-traditional students in a School of Social Science?’, and the data is provided by Dr Dawn Mannay and Victoria Edwards. Lowenfeld’s work is based in psychoanalysis and frequently applied in play therapy, adult psychotherapy and family therapy. However, in this case the ‘world technique’ was adopted as a visual tool of data production where participants built their subjective reflections of the non-traditional student experience in a sand tray using a range of objects. The sand scenes formed a base for individual elicitation interviews in which participants discussed the subjective meanings of their sand scenes with the researcher. This approach was employed to enable an understanding of the elusive and intangible quality of social phenomena, in which epistemological concerns place an emphasis on how individuals create meaning and make sense of their own reality. The visual data along with the recorded discussions of the elicitation interview talk formed the dataset where the analytic work begins, premising a form of inductive reasoning that is open-ended and exploratory. The fieldwork was conducted with current and past mature undergraduate students in 2013, and all of the names in the extracts displayed here are pseudonyms. The exemplar demonstrates the ways in which visual and oral data work together, emphasising the importance of the elicitation interview process as a vehicle to provide analytic insights into the journeys of students in institutes of higher education.

Item Type: Dataset
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
L Education > L Education (General)
N Fine Arts > N Visual arts (General) For photography, see TR
Uncontrolled Keywords: Elicitation Interviews, Higher Education, Isolation, Mature Students, Metaphors, Sandboxing, Thematic Analysis, Visual Methods, World Technique
Publisher: SAGE Publications
Funders: Cardiff Undergraduate Research Opportunities Programme (CUROP)
Date of Acceptance: 2015
Last Modified: 19 Oct 2022 06:46

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