‘Bonkers but good!’ – Using illustration-based interview methods to understand land management and conservation visions

Marc j. Metzger, Rose Keller, Veronica Lo, Anna Filyushkina, Franziska Komossa, Maria d. López-Rodríguez, Christiane Valluri, Aster De vries lentsch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Visions help to understand common ground and tensions among citizens and stakeholders, supporting inclusive land management and conservation solutions to the climate emergency and biodiversity crisis. With careful design and sufficient resource, it is possible to bring together communities and other stakeholders to share perspectives and deliberate desired futures, identifying more acceptable alternatives and avoiding costly delays. We evaluated researcher and participant experiences of illustration-based interviews to understand land management visions using four studies in Scotland, The Netherlands and Spain. These studies used STREAMLINE, a visual mixed-method interview format using thematic illustrated canvases designed to provide an inclusive and creative framing for participants to contemplate their desired future. Participants enjoyed the informal visual format, which reduced pressure, increased comfort through the research process, and helped their thinking and reflection about complex topics. They also valued being listened to and having the opportunity to share their views. Researchers appreciated the ability to triangulate rich qualitative data with a variety of quantitative measure through the mixed-method format and the flexibility to adapt the canvases to suit their research aims. Positive participant experience made facilitation easier and was stimulating for the researchers. The credibility and legitimacy of illustration-based interviews will ultimately depend on specific research design-decisions and testing, which can make the approach more resource intensive than conventional interviews. While organisational barriers should be considered realistically, illustration-based interviews can have high saliency by providing useful and usable insights that strengthen land management policy and planning.
Original languageEnglish
Article number104862
JournalLandscape and Urban Planning
Early online date9 Aug 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2023


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