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Asking about the future: methodological insights from energy biographies

Shirani, Fiona, Parkhill, Karen, Butler, Catherine, Groves, Christopher Robert, Pidgeon, Nicholas Frank and Henwood, Karen 2016. Asking about the future: methodological insights from energy biographies. International Journal of Social Research Methodology 19 (4) , pp. 429-444. 10.1080/13645579.2015.1029208

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Abstract

Temporality is fundamental to qualitative longitudinal (QLL) research, inherent in the design of returning to participants over time, often to explore moments of change. Previous research has indicated that talking about the future can be difficult, yet there has been insufficient discussion of methodological developments to address these challenges. This paper presents insights from the Energy Biographies project, which has taken a QLL and multimodal approach to investigating how everyday energy use can be understood in relation to biographical pasts and imagined futures. In particular, we detail innovative techniques developed within the project (e.g. SMS photograph activities) to elicit data on anticipated futures, in ways that engender thinking about participants’ own biographical futures and wider societal changes. We conclude by considering some of the significant benefits and challenges such techniques present. These methodological insights have a wider relevance beyond the substantive topic for those interested in eliciting data about futures in qualitative research.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
ISSN: 1364-5579
Funders: ESRC
Last Modified: 04 Nov 2016 05:31
URI: http://orca-mwe.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/74148

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