Currently submitted to: JMIR Research Protocols
Date Submitted: Aug 7, 2020
Open Peer Review Period: Aug 7, 2020 - Oct 2, 2020
(currently open for review)
QueerVIEW: Protocol for a Technology-Mediated Qualitative Photo Elicitation Study with Sexual and Gender Minority Youth in Ontario, Canada
The experiences of resilience and intersectionality in the lives of contemporary sexual and gender minority youth (SGMY) are important to explore. SGMY face unique experiences of discrimination in both online and offline environments, yet simultaneously build community and seek support in innovative ways. SGMY who identify as transgender, trans*, or gender non-conforming, and/or have experiences in child welfare, with homelessness, and/or immigration have been particularly understudied. A qualitative exploration that leverages technology may derive new understandings of the negotiations of risk, resilience, and identity intersections that impact the wellbeing of vulnerable SGMY.
The objectives of the QueerVIEW study were to: a) enhance understanding of SGMY identities, both online and offline; b) better understand experiences of intersectionality among culturally, regionally, and racially diverse SGMY in Ontario, Canada; c) explore online and offline sources and processes of resilience for these SGMY; and d) develop and apply a virtual photo elicitation methodological approach.
This is the first study to pilot a completely virtual approach to a photo elicitation investigation with youth, including data collection, recruitment, interviewing, and analysis. Recruited through social media, SGMY completed a brief screening survey, submitted 10 to 15 digital photos, and then participated in a semi-structured interview that focused on their submitted photos and life experiences. Online data collection methods were employed through encrypted online file transfer and secure online interviews. Data is being analyzed using a constructivist grounded theory approach with six coders participating in structured online meetings that triangulated photo, video, and textual data.
Data collection with thirty participants is completed, and analyses are underway. SGMY expressed appreciation for the photo elicitation and online design of the study and commonly reported emotional catharsis from participating in this process. It is anticipated that results will form a model of how participants work towards integrating their online and offline experiences and identities into developing a sense of oneself as resilient.
This protocol presents an innovative, technology-enabled qualitative study that completely digitized a popular arts-based research method, photo elicitation, which has potential utility for marginalized populations in an online era. The research design and triangulated analyses can generate more nuanced conceptualizations of SGMY identities and resilience than more traditional approaches. Considerations for conducting online research may be useful for other qualitative research.
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