The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

3208.0: Monday, November 17, 2003 - 12:30 PM

Abstract #60498

'First, hand over the pen': A New Method for Participatory Research

Jennifer S. Hirsch, PhD, Department of International Health, Emory University, 1518 Clifton Road, NE, Atlanta, GA 30322, 404-727-9976,

This paper will present a new method for participatory research on reproductive health: Life History Drawings. The goal of participatory methods is to give research subjects more control over the research process, with the ultimate intent of arriving at findings that more accurately reflect their own concerns and experiences. In this study, the life history drawing method was originally developed as a formative technique to elicit information on the most significant life experiences of women who were participating in a qualitative study about sexuality, gender, and reproductive health among Mexican women. The goal was to ensure that the field guides for the subsequent life history interviews would include questions on culturally-significant life course events. The drawings served this purpose, but they also generated compelling representations of women's dreams, losses, goals and values, providing an unusual source of data on the enormity of generational changes in the family in this Mexican community over the past 30 years and on the social context of reproductive health. This presentation will include a selection of the drawings, along with a discussion of how the exercise was conducted and how the drawings were subsequently interpreted. This drawing method, which is simple, inexpensive and easily replicated, would make an excellent addition to any large scale health survey, and holds real promise for providing an unusual window into the lives of individuals whose voices and dreams are not well captured through rates and statistics.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Participatory Research, Reproductive Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Organization/institution whose products or services will be discussed: none
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Community Involvement

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA