So having finally forced myself to put pen to paper (finger to keyboard?) I have started to write the methods section of my dissertation. Only three months behind schedule!
Interviewing was an obvious choice of research method for my study, in order to get a sense of my participants’ attitudes and thoughts on urban exploration. Rather than conducting conventional ‘sit-down’ interviews, I have opted to use a ‘go-along’ interview method. The go-along method a bit of a mixture between participant observation and semi-structured interviewing. As the researcher, I am required to engage with the environment as well as my research participant. I take cues from my participants’ reactions to our surroundings and from the surrounding space itself.
Go-along interviews are popular in numerous disciplines including health studies, anthropology, sociology, and geography. This popularity stems from the increasing attention in research to that all important C-word (“context” that is) – and to acknowledging the positionality and experiences of the researcher as well as the participants.
‘Go-alongs’ are particularly suited to this project as urban exploration is a so-called ’embodied practice’, in the sense that urban explorers are consciously interacting with their surroundings, both physically and imaginatively. I can get stuck in as the researcher and really experience (or try to) the places in a similar way to my participants.