What is involved?


What is involved

Youth participants collaborated on the data gathering, analysis and dissemination of findings. Briefly, we asked youth to make photos, over a period of seven days, of the spaces and places around them; spaces that made them feel they belong to their community and spaces that didn’t make them feel they belong. We also filmed each youth for a day. Youth were then interviewed individually about their photographs and a compilation of their video footage.

Then, over one weekend, we held a focus group and data analysis workshop. In these groups we asked the youth to help us understand and begin the initial analysis of the findings. And finally, from these workshops, the youth in each community created at least one youth‐driven, art‐based dissemination project and presented findings at an international conference. We are currently working on academic publications.

Find out more about our research process here and here!

More specifically, the data collection, analysis and dissemination proceeded as follows:

1. Preliminary interview

Each youth took part in an individual, semi‐structured interview focused on their understanding of the risks they faced and the resources that helped them do well.

2. Photo‐elicitation

Over a period of seven days each young person took photographs of the places, people and things that were important to them; that made them feel safe or unsafe; that made them feel they belonged or didn’t belong. Images were then developed and used as prompts in additional in‐depth interviews, facilitating an understanding from the youths’ perspectives what helped them overcome challenges and cope or do well despite these challenges (for more information on this see Harper, 2002; Liebenberg, 2009).

3. Day in the life video recording

A day-in-the-life of each youth (about 8‐12 hours) was video recorded. Two researchers were present during the filming. One researcher filmed the day using a digital camcorder while the other took detailed observation notes of interactions, places, and people that the youth encountered. In all instances one of the researchers was from outside the community while the other was from the community, and was familiar with the local context (for more information on this see Gillen, Cameron, Tapanya, Pinto, Hancock, Young, & Accorti Gamannossi, 2006).

4. Creation of the compilation day in the life

At least four members of the research team independently viewed the full video footage for each youth, and made selections of the day’s events and scenes that seemed to exhibit aspects of resilience. Through group discussions, the team selected 5‐6 segments (for a total of 30 minutes) that were drawn together in a compilation that was taken back to each respective youth.

5. Second iterative stage

The local researcher returned to the youth for an additional individual interview focused on the video compilation.

6. Data analysis workshop

Once the individual data gathering process was complete, participants engaged with the research team in analyzing the data. This process began with a focus group interview that allowed participants to share key components of their individual data (drawing on their photographs and video clips) with each other. Following these focus groups, participants together with the research team spent 2 days working through the data to develop codes and themes relevant to their community. Themes emerging from these workshops in each community are being integrated into a larger analysis of the entire data set by the research team. For more information on this process see our data analysis manual and video.

Video: Spaces & Places Data Analysis Process

Data Analysis Manual

7. Knowledge mobilization

Finally, youth participants became knowledge mobilizers, sharing the findings both in their own communities and beyond. In each site, participants, supported by the site researchers, decided on a medium for dissemination (art, video, photographs, etc) to the broader community and completed these art‐based dissemination projects.

In two communities, the youth presented this information as a mural painted on a central wall in their community (i.e. the community hall and the outside of the mental health crisis center, located centrally in the community). We created videos of these murals to ensure their message was mobile.

Across all three communities, youth also produced posters of the findings by using the photos they took for the research and writing messages on them. These posters are also available as post cards. Both the posters and postcards have been returned to the youth, their community, and their local government to use and distribute as they see fit.

To find out more about disseminating findings with research participants watch our dissemination video or download our dissemination manual.

8. Second phase of data collection

About a year after the first round of data collection, the research team and youth participants conducted a second round of data collection and analysis, using the same approach as before.

Video: Spaces & Places Dissemination Process

Dissemination Manual

9. Further data analysis

The data analysis is ongoing. The methodological approach taken in Spaces & Places encourages youth to work with the researchers in creating and reflecting on their data in ways that are meaningful to them. The analysis of data involves extensive dialogue between researchers at each site and between sites. We are drawing on a combination of grounded theory and thematic analysis.

10. Reflection periods

Integral to this methodology was the involvement of the members of the team in all aspects of the research initiative. Periods of active, dialogical reflection between our team members and between the researchers and participants ensured our analyses accounted for specific contexts and cultures, and were essential in helping us to understand the youth’s interpretations of their images (for more information on this see Liebenberg, Didkowsky & Ungar, 2012; Liebenberg, Ungar & Theron, 2014).


Gillen, J., Cameron, C.A., Tapanya, S., Pinto, G., Hancock, R., Young, S. & Accorti Gamannossi, B. (2006). ‘A Day in the Life': advancing a methodology for the cultural study of development and learning in early childhood. Early Child Development and Care, 177(2), 207-218.

Harper, D. (2002). Talking about pictures: A case for photo elicitation. Visual Studies, 17(1), 13-26.
Liebenberg, L., (2009a). The visual image as discussion point: Increasing validity in boundary crossing research. Qualitative Research, 9(4), 441-467.

Liebenberg, L., Didkowsky, N., & Ungar, M. (2012). Analysing visual data using grounded theory: An exemplar of the Negotiating Resilience Project. Visual Studies, 27(1), 59-74. DOI: 10.1080/1472586X.2012.642958

Liebenberg, L. Ungar, M., & Theron, L. (2014). Using video observation and photo elicitation interviews to understand obscured processes in the lives of resilient youth. Childhood, 21(4), 532 – 547. DOI: 10.1177/0907568213496652

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