Participatory photography research methods have been used to successfully engage and collect in-depth information from individuals whose voices have been traditionally marginalized in clinical or research arenas. However, participatory photography methods can introduce unique challenges and considerations regarding study design, human subject protections, and other regulatory barriers, particularly with vulnerable patient populations and in highly regulated institutions. Practical guidance on navigating these complex, interrelated methodological, logistical, and ethical issues is limited. Using a case exemplar, we describe our experiences with the planning, refinement, and initiation of a research study that used photo-elicitation interviews to assess the healthcare experiences of homeless and marginally housed United States Veterans. We discuss practical issues and recommendations related to study design, logistical “pitfalls” during study execution, and ensuring human subjects protections in the context of a study with a highly vulnerable patient population taking place in a highly risk-averse research environment.
Homeless Persons, Photography, Qualitative Research, Veterans, Veterans’ Health
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the position or policy of the Department of Veterans Affairs or the United States Government. Declaration of conflicting interests: All manuscript authors declare that there are no conflicts of interest (i.e., financial and personal relationships between themselves and others that might bias their work). Funding: This work was supported by a pilot research grant from VISN 4 Mental Illness Research, Education, and Clinical Center, VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System (PIs: Michael A. Mitchell, MA; Lauren M. Broyles, PhD, RN). This work was also supported by Department of Veterans Affairs, Health Services Research & Development (HSR&D) Service, locally initiated research funding (PI: Michael A. Mitchell, MA; 72-079). Finally, this work was supported by the Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of Academic Affiliations Advanced Fellowship Program in Addiction Treatment (Michael A. Mitchell, MA), a Career Development Award (CDA 10-014) from the Department of Veterans Affairs, Health Services Research & Development service (Lauren M. Broyles, PhD, RN) and with resources and facilities at the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System, Pittsburgh, PA.
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Recommended APA Citation
Mitchell, M. A., Hedayati, D. O., Rodriguez, K. L., Gordon, A. J., Broyles, L. M., True, G., Balbale, S. N., & Conley, J. W. (2016). Logistical Lessons Learned in Designing and Executing a Photo-Elicitation Study in the Veterans Health Administration. The Qualitative Report, 21(7), 1303-1315. https://doi.org/10.46743/2160-3715/2016.2462