Drawing on research from a mixed-methods project on gaming we argue for a qualitative methodological approach called “interactive elicitation,” a form of data collection that combines elements of photo elicitation, interviewing and vignettes. After situating our broader research project exploring young people’s experiences of violent open-world video games, we outline the process of conducting interactive elicitation, arguing for a mixed-methods approach where participants are observed and interviewed both during and immediately after interacting with particular cultural artefacts, in this case the game GTA V. We reflect on the initial design of the research methodology, the problematic aspects of conducting the research – focusing on social desirability bias – before proffering adaptations to our approach in relation to complementary work in the field of Game Studies. Ultimately, we argue for immediacy in relation to research on cultural experiences and the importance of social desirability as an asset in framing interaction, both of which have implications for sociological and interdisciplinary research more widely.


Interactive Elicitation, Social Desirability Bias, Interviewing, Video Games, GTA V

Author Bio(s)

Matthew Spokes is a Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the York St. John University. His main areas of interest are the intersections between death, narratives, popular cultural and spatial practices, particularly looking at video games and deviant leisure pursuits. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: m.spokes@yorksj.ac.uk.

Jack Denham is a Lecturer in Sociology and Criminology at York St. John University. His main areas of research are focused on the cultural consumption of crime – such as crime museums and representations of crime in popular culture, with a particular interest in the crossover between cultural studies, the sociology of consumption, death and violence. Correspondence regarding this article can also be addressed directly to: j.denham@yorksj.ac.uk.

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