This article explores the use of vignettes in qualitative research from a posthumanist and multispecies perspective. Drawing on methodological principles espoused by Karen Barad and Donna Haraway, as well as empirical data from the Dementia Dog pilot project in Scotland UK, we explore the use of vignettes as a technique for understanding human-dog relations in dementia. In so doing, we outline an approach to using vignettes that is guided by principles of diffraction, and which is contrasted with humanist principles of interpretivism, reflection and of representation. Moving away from humanist methodology, we argue, calls for new approaches to evaluating the quality of vignettes. This involves disrupting conventional approaches, within which vignettes are defined by their primary purpose and evaluated according to fixed criteria (e.g. validity, authenticity, trustworthiness). In their place, we argue for an approach to evaluating vignettes that it is rooted in performativity and is guided by the question: What can a vignette do?
- animal studies
- animal assistance