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'Finding our feet': Walking interviews for qualitative inquiry with older adults


King, AC and Woodroffe, J and Orpin, P, 'Finding our feet': Walking interviews for qualitative inquiry with older adults, Poster abstracts of the 2015 Qualitative Methods Conference, 28 - 30 April, Melbourne, Australia, pp. 13. (2015) [Conference Extract]

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Walking interviews or "go-alongs" are an innovative qualitative research method which has recently gained popularity amongst researchers, informed by the "new mobilities paradigm" and "the spatial turn" within social sciences. Walking interviews essentially entail researchers and participants talking whilst walking together. This method has been employed in research into experiences of various places, including shopping centres, neighbourhoods, cities, and farms, and with various research participants, including children, teenagers, and occasionally older adults. Walking interviews are often viewed as a valuable means of deepening phenomenological understandings of lived experiences in particular places through qualitative inquiry. However, further exploration of the epistemological claims made for walking interviews, over and above those of more sedentary qualitative research methods, is warranted. Case studies will be presented from recent phenomenological ethnographic research in rural Australia, which included walking interviews with older adults in their homes, gardens, farms, and towns. The rich, detailed, and multi-sensory data generated by these walking interviews demonstrate that this method is a valuable, valid, feasible, and empowering means of conducting qualitative inquiry with older adults, particularly when employed concurrently with well-established qualitative methods such as in-depth interviews and ethnographic observation. However, these case studies also illustrate the epistemological boundaries of walking interviews, raising questions about whether or not this method allows researchers engaged in qualitative inquiry to achieve "embodied empathy" with older adults which entails fully sharing in their bodily experiences of life.

Item Details

Item Type:Conference Extract
Keywords:qualitative research methods, walking interviews, older adults
Research Division:Human Society
Research Group:Sociology
Research Field:Rural sociology
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Specific population health (excl. Indigenous health)
Objective Field:Rural and remote area health
UTAS Author:King, AC (Ms Alexandra King)
UTAS Author:Woodroffe, J (Dr Jessica Woodroffe)
UTAS Author:Orpin, P (Dr Peter Orpin)
ID Code:101573
Year Published:2015
Deposited By:Rural Clinical School
Deposited On:2015-06-26
Last Modified:2015-07-14
Downloads:1 View Download Statistics

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