Developing participatory research in radiology: the use of a graffiti wall, cameras and a video box in a Scottish radiology department

Sandra A Mathers, Helen Anderson, Sheila McDonald, Rosemary Chesson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: Participatory research is increasingly advocated for use in health and health services research and has been defined as a 'process of producing new knowledge by systematic enquiry, with the collaboration of those being studied'. The underlying philosophy of participatory research is that those recruited to studies are acknowledged as experts who are 'empowered to truly participate and have their voices heard'. Research methods should enable children to express themselves. This has led to the development of creative approaches of working with children that offer alternatives to, for instance, the structured questioning of children by researchers either through questionnaires or interviews.

OBJECTIVE: To examine the feasibility and potential of developing participatory methods in imaging research.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: We employed three innovative methods of data collection sequentially, namely the provision of: 1) a graffiti wall; 2) cameras, and 3) a video box for children's use. While the graffiti wall was open to all who attended the department, for the other two methods children were allocated to each 'arm' consecutively until our target of 20 children for each was met.

RESULTS: The study demonstrated that it was feasible to use all three methods of data collection within the context of a busy radiology department. We encountered no complaints from staff, patients or parents. Children were willing to participate but we did not collect data to establish if they enjoyed the activities, were pleased to have the opportunity to make comments or whether anxieties about their treatment inhibited their participation. The data yield was disappointing. In particular, children's contributions to the graffiti wall were limited, but did reflect the nature of graffiti, and there may have been some 'copycat' comments. Although data analysis was relatively straightforward, given the nature of the data (short comments and simple drawings), the process proved to be extremely time-consuming. This was despite the modest amount of data collected.

CONCLUSIONS: Novel methods of engaging with children have been shown to be feasible although further work is needed to establish their full potential.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)309-17
Number of pages9
JournalPediatric Radiology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2010


  • Biomedical Research/methods
  • Child, Preschool
  • Data Collection/methods
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Patient Participation/methods
  • Physician-Patient Relations
  • Radiology Department, Hospital/organization & administration
  • Scotland
  • Video Recording/methods


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