Modifying the Diary Interview Method to Research the Lives of People With Dementia
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Original versionBartlett, R. (2012) Modifying the diary interview method to research the lives of people with dementia. Qualitative Health Research, 22(12), pp.1717-1726. 10.1177/1049732312462240
Debates about involving people with dementia in qualitative research are extensive, yet the range of methods used is limited. Researchers tend to rely on interview and/or observation methods to collect data, even though these tools might preclude participation. I modified the conventional diary interview method to include photo and audio diaries in an effort to investigate the lives of people with dementia in a participatory way. Sixteen people with dementia kept a diary—written, photo, or audio, whichever suited them best—for 1 month. The purposes of this article are to share the methodological insights gained from this process in the context of emerging literature on sensory ethnography, and to argue for the broader application of the diary interview method in dementia-related research, on the grounds that it mediates an equal relationship and makes visible the “whole person,” including the environment in which that person lives.