“Let’s Take a Look Together”: Walking Interviews in Domestic Spaces as a Means to Examine ICT Experiences of Women 60+

Barbara Ratzenböck

Abstract


Although mobile methods are becoming more common within the social sciences (e.g. Ricketts Hein et al., 2008 and Wiederhold, 2015, p. 607), they mostly take place outdoors. This paper examines the potential of walking interviews conducted in small domestic spaces to explore the ICT experiences of women aged 60+ and to discuss the challenges and advantages of this method. This case study of indoor walking interview material is a part of a larger research project on the ICT experiences of women 60+ in the Austrian province of Styria. The advantages and challenges of conducting walking interviews in the homes of interviewees are identified and explored. As this case study demonstrates, walking interviews in homes give the researcher a glimpse into the private areas of everyday life, let the interviewees lead the researcher through the space, allow the participants to conduct the conversation, and thus invite a reflection on the power dynamics inherent in the interview situation. This method also compares the statements provided by participants in semi-structured interviews with the information gathered through an encounter with media and ICTs in the home. These comparisons yield a variety of insights on prior statements through the addition of emphases, “contradictions,” or minimizing the importance of previous interview statements. Moreover, interactions with the objects in the home that are encountered during the walking interview also provide important prompts” to stimulate a detailed and multifaceted discussion of everyday life experiences with ICTs and other media.


Keywords


mobile methods; indoor walking interview; domestic space; older female ICT users; aging

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.21018/rjcpr.2016.1.201

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