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Collaboratively exploring what matters to people, their understanding of concepts and ideas for innovation can be a challenge in practice development, research and education due to potential difficulties in articulating complex issues. Visual Inquiry is described as a process which involves the use of generic images to facilitate dynamic dialogue between the inquirer and participant/s, in order to support shared understanding and co-production of knowledge.

The aim was twofold, firstly to describe the Visual Inquiry method and secondly to explore the experiences of using Visual Inquiry in practice development, research and education.

Research Design
Qualitative data was generated from a group of academics (n=8) who took part in a Co-operative inquiry, exploring their experience of using this method (Visual inquiry) in fifteen independent studies.

Eight academics (inquirers) drew on their experience of using Visual Inquiry from fifteen independent studies. Analysis of the qualitative data identified eight themes in relation to the process and outcomes of using Visual Inquiry; Evocative Participation; Playfulness; Holding vulnerability; Welcoming authenticity; Illumination; Surfacing depth; Unearthing possibilities; Evoking surprise and Provocation.

Visual Inquiry was found to be a useful method for opening up dialogue which allowed the facilitator to adapt a flexible approach and the participant to richly articulate insights on their cognitive, emotional and experiential worlds.
Original languageEnglish
Article number6
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Practice Development Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 15 May 2019


  • Visual Inquiry
  • Co-operative inquiry
  • Interviews
  • Photo elicitation
  • Imagery

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