Using Visual Methods for Research


Using art and other visual tools in research is becoming increasingly common as people realize that creating art allows us to see issues and circumstances in new and meaningful ways. Each HIV-positive participant in PLPH is asked to draw a map of their living space. The objective isn’t to produce a perfect drawing of the space, but rather to spend some time thinking about one’s housing situation in order to provide thoughtful answers to the interview questions. Interviewers have reported a lot of positive feedback from participants about the “Mapping Home” activity.

The slideshow below shows some example maps. Use them to start thinking about your own housing situation, or to talk in a group about the relationship between housing and health. A key is provided below, so you can see the meanings of the colours used. Use our Mapping Home guidelines to facilitate the activity. You can simply draw on paper, or link to this online drawing site to create an e-map.

sample map 2

Map Key:

Black: basic outline of living space and furniture

Red & orange: items/spaces that inhibit health and well-being

Blue and green: items/spaces that facilitate health and well-being

Yellow: neutral items/spaces

Purple: items/spaces that are desired for better health and well-being