Photo Elicitation Methods in Engineering Research
Jessica Kaminsky, University of Washington, USA
Construction research often uses case study methods to investigate the large and singular projects that are a hallmark of the profession. These studies increasingly use informant interviews as a strategy to develop detailed case based knowledge. In contrast, photo elicitation uses photographs or other images in interviews to elicit informant knowledge, and is particularly well suited for understanding knowledge and perspectives other than the researchers’. As such photo elicitation has particular potential for researchers interested in sustainability, human factors in design, and other transdisciplinary topics. This method has a rich history in many academic disciplines; however, to date it has not been applied in construction research. This paper presents the method and suggestions for its application in construction research, drawing from insights gained in other disciplines to develop recommendations that can be used to achieve high quality research results. It also presents important limitations, benefits, and ethical considerations of the method important for a researcher to consider when applying it to construction and engineering research.