Through Their Eyes, in Their Words: Using Photo-Elicitation to Amplify Student Voice in Policy and School Improvement Research

  • Jeff WallsEmail author
  • Samantha E. Holquist


Although various measures of student success are often used as data points in scholarly and policy debates about how to improve schools, the policy and school-level changes that stem from these discussions are presumed to be taken on behalf of students without very much effort to meaningfully include students’ perspectives on the proposed changes. The purpose of this chapter is to highlight the promise of photo-elicitation-based data collection to authentically leverage student voice in research on policy and school improvement in ways that promote equity and critical social justice. Photo-elicitation, in its simplest form, involves inviting research participants to take photographs of a space (e.g., a school) under a broad prompt (e.g., places where you like to have fun) (Harper, Visual Studies, 17, 13–26, 2002; Torre & Murphy, Education Policy Analysis Archives, 23, 2015). This chapter highlights methodological choices researchers must make in utilizing photo-elicitation and how these choices bear on the equity implications of this method.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Louisiana at LafayetteLafayetteUSA
  2. 2.University of MinnesotaMinneapolisUSA

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