Educational Psychology, Department of


Date of this Version



Newman, I.M., Kanjanawong, S. (2005). Using photography to cross generational, linguistic, and cultural barriers to develop useful survey instruments. Health Promotion Practice, 6(1), 53-56.


©2004 Society for Public Health Education


Photographs are used as a research tool by anthropologists and as a technique to empower special populations, advocacy groups, and policymakers. This case describes how photography was used to develop a survey to study alcohol expectancies among Thai adolescents. A multicultural research team faced generational, linguistic, and cultural barriers in understanding Thai adolescent alcohol use well enough to write useful questions about alcohol expectancies. Asking adolescents to take and then discuss their photographs about alcohol allowed them to express themselves without the imposition of an organizational framework by the investigators. Group discussions of the photographs revealed nuances and subtleties of interpretation of behavior and expectancies involving alcohol that might otherwise have not emerged. The results of this activity were used to refine an expectancy scale used in a large-scale survey of alcohol expectancies and use.