Participant-Guided Mobile Methods

  • Karen BlockEmail author
  • Lisa Gibbs
  • Colin MacDougall
Reference work entry


Health research is increasingly concerned with tackling health inequalities and inequities. Given that poorer health outcomes are often experienced by those who are suffering a degree of socially, economically, or environmentally determined disadvantage, it is incumbent on us as researchers to include the views and voices of diverse and sometimes marginalized or vulnerable population groups. Challenges which may accompany this imperative include engaging so-called hard-to-reach populations, and addressing an imbalance of power that often occurs between researcher and participant. Participant-guided mobile methods are one strategy for rebalancing this power differential when undertaking qualitative research. In this chapter, we describe the method and several case study examples where the authors have used it. We also discuss the types of research questions for which it is particularly well-suited along with its benefits and its challenges. When compared with a more traditional face-to-face interview, participant-guided mobile methods allow participants more power and control over the interview process. In addition, the method can yield observational and visual data as well as interview data, and is useful for including children and other participants who may be less articulate or lack proficiency in the language of the interviewer as it provides opportunities to “show” as well as “tell.”


Mobile interviews Qualitative Place Space Neighborhood Walking interviews Power 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Melbourne School of Population and Global HealthThe University of MelbourneMelbourneAustralia
  2. 2.Health Sciences BuildingFlinders UniversityBedford ParkAustralia

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