Interviews allow us to take an open, exploratory approach to research.
They enable participants to share stories in their own words and on their own terms. By listening to these accounts, we want to understand more about people’s varied multisensory interactions with nature and learn how, if at all, life with a visual impairment shapes those experiences.
For example, we want to help shed light on questions like:
- What types of encounter promote meaningful connections with nature?
- To what extent, if at all, do people feel impaired by their eyesight in nature?
- How does this vary across different natural environments?
- What could we learn from these ways of sensing and making sense of nature?
We’d like to recruit roughly 30 people to take part in the interviews, each at different ages and stages in their lives. Aiming for an even mix of men and women, we’ll be speaking to individuals who were born with a visual impairment as well those who acquired sight loss later in life.
The first interview will cover a range of topics, enabling participants to share their feelings about different nature-based experiences and explore how these might have promoted a sense of wellbeing. It will also consider how this has changed through the different ‘chapters’ of individuals’ lives. This type of discussion is typically called an in-depth ‘narrative’ interview.
The second interview will take place in a local natural environment chosen by each participant because they tend to feel a sense of wellbeing whilst there. Participants will be encouraged to reflect on the sensory, emotional and social aspects of their chosen locations, and to think about how this compares to other nature-based settings in their communities.
These ‘go along’ interviews might take place in people’s gardens, or further afield in places such as local parks, woodlands, beaches or riverside trails.
We hope these interviews will promote greater awareness of people’s multisensory encounters with natural environments, as well as exploring how and why people have negotiated barriers to access. They will also help us to understand how best to enable others to overcome particular fears or anxieties about using these spaces.