Mobile apps for visual research: Affordances and challenges for participant-generated photography

Sarah Barriage, Alison Hicks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


The incorporation of participant-generated photography in research can be a powerful means of studying participants' perspectives and experiences. Approaches such as photovoice and photo-elicitation that incorporate participant-generated photography are increasingly being used in library and information science to study topics such as information needs, information seeking, and use of library space. This article describes two recent studies that used mobile apps (PixStori and EthOS) to facilitate participant-generated photography and photo-elicitation processes in research exploring the information practices of children and young adults, including the affordances, challenges and practical considerations identified by the researchers. Affordances of these apps within a research context include recordability, immediacy, portability, visibility, and durability. Challenges and practical considerations in using these apps in research settings include data security and storage, device failures, app failures, user instruction, cost, and ethical considerations. Implications for future research in library and information science are also explored.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101033
JournalLibrary and Information Science Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Elsevier Inc.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Information Systems
  • Library and Information Sciences


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