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Place-Based Interviewing: Creating and Conducting Walking Interviews

By: & Published: 2016 | Product: SAGE Research Methods Cases Part 1
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This case considers two quite different projects which helped to examine the potential ‘walking interviews’ might have to illuminate and enhance the research experience. Although experiences from our everyday lives, and a good deal of geographical scholarship, show us that where we are shapes how we act, behave and speak, the ‘place’ of the interview itself has, historically, been under-recognised and under-considered within methodological discussions. Our projects sought to get ‘into the field’ in a less metaphorical and much more literal sense by undertaking interviews while walking with our interviewees. Following a brief outline of some of the practical issues, we consider how this approach may add to the interview by allowing freedom to explore, revisit and happen upon different places. We illustrate not only how being on the move allows places to act as a cue for discussion but also how this movement can actually (re)shape how we do interviews – framing which places are visited, how a particular theme is discussed and how a place may be revised and, importantly, reconsidered in situ. We conclude by pointing to some of the future opportunities for research utilising, and extending upon, the walking interview.

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