A visual methods approach for researching children’s perspectives: capturing the dialectic and visual reflexivity in a cross-national study of father-child interactions

Rita Chawla-Duggan, Rajani Konantambigi, Michelle Mei Seung Lam, Sissel Sollied

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The paper presents a visual methods approach from a cross national methodological project that used digital visual technologies to examine young children's perspectives in father-child interactions. The approach combines capturing the dialectic with visual reflexivity. The notion of ‘capturing the dialectic’ specifically by analysing conflict to gather the child’s intention as their perspective, is underpinned by finding the contradictions in a situation of which children are a part. Visual technologies and in particular digital film does this, because it can identify difference, as it observes and captures the dialectic process. Researchers collected between 5–10 hours of film footage and twenty-four film elicitation interviews from young children and their fathers in twelve families within England, Hong Kong, Norway and India. In the study, participants took footage of routine father-child interactions chosen by the children; and researchers sampled the footage for situations of conflict and emotionally charged moments in order to capture the dialectic. Researchers then conducted film elicitation interviews with the children and fathers, which were recorded for the purpose of visual reflexivity. This visual methods approach can support social science researchers to address differences in representation and truth, for a better understanding of a young child’s perspective in cross-national projects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37-54
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Social Research Methodology
Issue number1
Early online date18 Oct 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2020


  • child-development
  • children’s perspectives
  • father-child interaction
  • reflexivity
  • Visual methods

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)

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