The walking interview: methodology, mobility and place. Applied Geography, 31(2), 849-858
Social scientists have begun engaging with participants ‘on the move’ in a variety of ways. This paper presents the results of a pilot study, which deployed a qualitative GIS technique to analyse the effectiveness of walked interviews in capturing data relating to people’s understanding of place. We give an account of the walking interview exploring two issues: the relationship between what people say and where they say it; and qualitative and quantitative differences between data generated by walking and sedentary interviews. Our results indicate that the data generated through walking interviews are profoundly informed by the landscapes in which they take place, emphasising the importance of environmental features in shaping discussions. We also demonstrate a measureable difference between walking and sedentary techniques in the production of rich place narratives both in terms of their quantity and spatial specificity to the study area. The paper concludes by acknowledging that a technocentric analysis of place runs the risk of emphasising locational above humanistic elements, but argues that, done sensitively, a qualitative GIS approach offers great potential for engaging planners and policy makers with the importance of local connections to place.