Participatory diagramming in social work research: Utilizing visual timelines to interpret the complexities of the lived multiracial experience

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The purpose of this article is to present an illustrative example of the analytic potential of image-based research in social work. Insight gained from a qualitative research study that used a novel form of participatory diagramming to examine the racial identity development of ten multiracial individuals is referenced and critiqued. Utilizing a critical visual methodological framework to analyze visual timelines, this article offers insight into the contextually rich and dynamic processes comprising the multiracial experience. This article concludes with an informative discussion of how visual methods support key social work values, including commitment to clients and understanding the person-in-environment, and how participatory diagramming in particular can enhance culturally sensitive and responsible research and practice with multiracial individuals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)414-432
Number of pages19
JournalQualitative Social Work
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2013



  • Multiracial identity
  • participatory diagramming
  • visual social research
  • visual timelines

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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