Worth, N. (2009) ‘Making use of audio diaries in research with young people: Examining narrative, participation and audience’, Sociological Research Online, 14(4). doi: 10.5153/sro.1967

AIM:

To investigate the use of diary methods of researching using an audio format.

To explore ‘how visually impaired young people characterise their transitions to adulthood, and what the term adulthood means to them’ (Worth, 2009, p. 1)

PARTICIPANTS

Visually impaired 16-25 year olds recruited from a wide range of specialist and mainstream education settings, social forums and other organisations.

HOW AUDIO DIARIES WERE USED:

A pilot study engaged young people in helping to shape research questions and methods of of gathering data which led to the following data collection stages:

FINDINGS:

Using the audio diaries provided meaningful narratives about key events in young peoples’ experiences of transitions to adulthood. Rather than a collection of individual facts prompted by a series of questions these narratives provided a rich social context and a sense of completeness in terms of the impact of events.

The use of audio diaries allowed participants to participate in different ways that suited them for instance one created a diary of events over a 6 month period as events happened to her; rather than over an intensive 2 week period of reflection.

The audio diary encourage a free-ranging dialogue approach unlike a more linear capturing of thoughts characteristic of a written diary. Participants spoke into their recorder as if in an interview, or talking to an audience, sometimes diverting to tell a story or bring in different points before returning to the main point. The researcher concludes: “Overall audio diaries have both expanded and diversified participants’ contribution to the research providing greater insight into how young people understand and narrate experiences of growing up” (Worth, 2009, p. 29).