Lived experience mapping: getting the most out of longitudinal, complex and emotive stories with participant-generated visuals

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Published conference proceedingChapter


This chapter will introduce Lived Experience Mapping (LEM), a novel method of exploring people’s lived experience of longstanding, complex or emotionally charged topics that may be inaccessible through standard interview techniques. Using representationally neutral sticky notes, participants create a unique, dynamic, visual map that encapsulates key items or plot points within their story, allowing them to develop, explain and refine the map as the interview progresses. This process enables the narrative to explore more than the participant’s initially foregrounded issues, offering a wider perspective on the generated data. Participants are given the freedom to shape their map in any way that suits their storytelling style, rather than trying to create a comparable, structured outcome.

This method results in a creative visual, without asking the participant directly to “be creative” or for an extended time commitment. The resulting visual is then converted into a digitised diagram by the researcher, who can add details to assist with communicating the map to a wider audience. This digitised diagram, with comprehensive accompanying recorded audio dialogue, can be subjected to rigorous analysis. LEM can accompany a range of qualitative, interpretive research approaches and analysis methods such as phenomenology, grounded theory, introspective methods, feminist research, ethnography, thematic analysis, narrative analysis, content analysis, voice-centred relational method and discourse analysis.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationVisual methods in marketing and consumer research
EditorsFatema Kawaf, Ofer Dekel-Dachs
Number of pages23
ISBN (Electronic)9781003310877
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 1 May 2024

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