Studying the “Lived Experience” of Project Managing Using Photo Elicitation and Semi-Structured Interviews


This case study describes the use of photos taken by research participants to guide semi-structured interviews focused on understanding the “lived experience” of project work. The research design is useful when ethnographic access to a site is not possible, and the researcher is seeking to describe what actually happens in organizational life. The study design required the research participants to take photos from their everyday experiences of project work. These photos were then provided to the researcher who used these as stimuli in a semi-structured interview with each research participant. The questions in the interviews were focused on understanding what it was like to be a project manager and the tools used to deal with project work. While researchers using this method need to be aware of privacy and confidentiality concerns associated with the participants’ providing photos of their worklife, and that transcribing and coding lengthy interviews can be time consuming, it is found to be a valuable research design for management scholars.

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