The Negotiating Resilience project is using an innovative combination of visual methods, observation, qualitative interviews and reciprocity between researchers and youth to deepen our understandings of resilience from children and youth’s own cultural and contextual viewpoints.
The methodology is based largely on Cameron et al.’s (Cameron, Tapanya, & Gillen’s 2006) ongoing Day in the Life (DITL) studies of 30-month olds in different cultures (so far children in Peru, Italy, Canada, Thailand, the UK, the US, and Turkey have participated). Prior to working with the youth participants, the Negotiating Resilience Research Project team first developed the research methodologies and received local comment on the interview questions and methods to ensure that they would make sense to youth at each site. The research documents were then translated into each site’s local language. Data collection and analysis proceeded as follows:
- Preliminary interview: Youth participants took part in a confidential, semi-structured interview focused on the youth’s understandings of their risks and experiences of their own resilience.
- Photo-elicitation (Harper, 2002): The youth were provided with a disposable camera so that they could take photographs of the places, people and things that were important to them. Images were later developed and used as prompts for in-depth interviews and as research data to understand from the youths’ perspectives what helped them overcome challenges and cope in their transitional environments.
- Day in the life video recording: A day in the life (Gillen et al., 2006) was recorded for each youth via video, consisting of 8-12 hours of the youth’s day. Two researchers were present during the filming. One researcher filmed the day using a digital camcorder. Another researcher already familiar with the young person’s context took detailed observation notes of interactions, places, and people that the youth encountered.
- Creation of the compilation day in the life DVD: At least four researchers (both familiar and unfamiliar with the youth’s context) independently viewed the full video footage for each youth, and made selections of the day’s events and scenes that seemed to exhibit aspects of resilience. Through deliberations, the researchers reached consensus on 5-6 segments (for a total of 30 minutes) that they felt demonstrated aspects of positive development for each youth, or selections they were interested in hearing more about from the youth.
- Second iterative stage: The local researcher returned to the youth with the youth’s developed photographs and the 30 minute compilation DVD of his or her day. The youth were asked to reflect on each segment in the compilation as well as their photographs. The compilation video of a youth from the paired research site was also shown to each youth for comment and reflection.
- Reflection periods: Integral to this methodology was the involvement of the members of the international team in all aspects of the research initiative. Periods of active, dialogical reflection between our team members and between the researchers and participants ensured our analyses accounted for specific contexts and cultures, and were essential in helping us to understand the youth’s interpretations of their images.
- Data analysis: The data analysis is ongoing. The methodological approach taken in the Negotiating Resilience Project encourages youth to work with the researchers in creating and reflecting on their data in ways that are meaningful to them. The analysis of data involves extensive dialogue between researchers at each site and between sites. We are drawing on a combination of analysis methods, including grounded theory, postmodern discourse analysis, thematic analysis, and narrative analysis.