Photo-Elicitation with Autodriving in Research with Individuals with Mild to Moderate Alzheimer’s Disease: Advantages and Challenges

  • Lynn Shell College of Nursing Rutgers University Newark, New Jersey, United States


Recent research indicates that people with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) can meaningfully report on their life. As a result, there is an increasing interest in finding ways to involve persons with AD in qualitative research to ensure their perspectives and experiences are included. However, researchers have largely depended on interview or observation methods to inform their study, acknowledging concern regarding capacity for expressive language. This article reports on the use of photography, specifically photo-elicitation with autodriving, in a qualitative study of happiness in persons with mild to moderate AD, and it explores the opportunities and challenges of using this methodology in this population. Results demonstrate that while photo-elicitation can be an effective tool for the researcher to use to understand the world of the individual with AD, it also presents practical challenges. Thoughtful application of this methodology can overcome these challenges, providing a richer level of understanding than interview alone can generate.

Author Biography

Lynn Shell, College of Nursing Rutgers University Newark, New Jersey, United States
Assistant Professor College of Nursing Rutgers University