A Novel Approach to Support the Use of Visual Methods when Researching with People Living with Dementia

Sarah Kate Smith, Gail Ann Mountain, Rebecca Jane Hawkins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Accepted methods of enquiry to address qualitative research questions are focus groups and interviews, enabling access to the experiences, opinions, and perspectives of participants. However use of these methods with people with dementia is problematic because this condition can impair verbal communication in addition to other domains. These challenges can have a significant impact when trying to obtain insight from an individual through conversation and discussion. As researchers, we should be creating alternative methods that place equal importance on behaviour that is non-verbal as well as verbal. This contribution highlights the need for the advancement of creative qualitative methods drawing on lessons learned of the benefits and challenges during the development of a novel approach to support the use of visual methods in dementia research. By focussing on all that is retained and done well, emphasising individual strengths and abilities, offers an increasingly prevalent alternative to existing loss-deficit models that have characterised dementia research in the past. This approach highlights the importance and appropriateness of visual methods in enabling meaning and transparency throughout the research process from ethical approval and consent procedures through to the collection, analysis, dissemination, and impact of the research data.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Qualitative Methods
Early online date29 Jun 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2023


  • ICT
  • dementia
  • enjoyable activities
  • participation
  • visual methods


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