University of Tasmania

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'Finding our feet': Walking interviews for qualitative inquiry with older adults

conference contribution
posted on 2023-05-24, 13:52 authored by King, AC, Jessica WoodroffeJessica Woodroffe, Orpin, P
Walking interviews or “go-alongs” are an innovative qualitative research method which has recently gained popularity amongst researchers, informed by the “new mobilities paradigm” and “the spatial turn” within social sciences. Walking interviews essentially entail researchers and participants talking whilst walking together. This method has been employed in research into experiences of various places, including shopping centres, neighbourhoods, cities, and farms, and with various research participants, including children, teenagers, and occasionally older adults. Walking interviews are often viewed as a valuable means of deepening phenomenological understandings of lived experiences in particular places through qualitative inquiry. However, further exploration of the epistemological claims made for walking interviews, over and above those of more sedentary qualitative research methods, is warranted. Case studies will be presented from recent phenomenological ethnographic research in rural Australia, which included walking interviews with older adults in their homes, gardens, farms, and towns. The rich, detailed, and multi-sensory data generated by these walking interviews demonstrate that this method is a valuable, valid, feasible, and empowering means of conducting qualitative inquiry with older adults, particularly when employed concurrently with well-established qualitative methods such as in-depth interviews and ethnographic observation. However, these case studies also illustrate the epistemological boundaries of walking interviews, raising questions about whether or not this method allows researchers engaged in qualitative inquiry to achieve “embodied empathy” with older adults which entails fully sharing in their bodily experiences of life.


Publication title

Poster abstracts of the 2015 Qualitative Methods Conference


L Given & S Wall




Tasmanian School of Medicine


University of Alberta international institute for qualitative methodology

Place of publication

Melbourne, Australia

Event title

2015 Qualitative Methods Conference

Event Venue

Melbourne, Australia

Date of Event (Start Date)


Date of Event (End Date)


Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Rural and remote area health

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