The Mixed-Method Data Collection Process For My Ikigai Study

Shintaro Kono used a mixed-method approach for his study, where he collected both qualitative and quantitative data. The topic 'ikigai' is very complex and hard to discuss. Therefore, he used photo-elicitation, where his interviewees chose pictures related to their ikigai, making it easier for them to identify their ikigai.

Using photo-elicitation helps people distinguish their ikigai.

Nick: Your study, and what you mentioned earlier, your data collection method was quite interesting. Would you like to go into detail about that?

Shintaro: Sure. This study was what we call a mixed-method, so there's an interview-based qualitative component and there's later on quantitative components with the bigger survey.

But the first qualitative component with the interview was also coupled with their photo choosing and photo-taking sometimes -- it's called photo-elicitation. It started from anthropology, cultural anthropology, it's been there in social science for 50, 70 years probably now, it's a very established thing. 

Sometimes in our field, like well-being research, it's not necessarily of use yet and I think that has a lot of potential and that's the reason why I chose it for my ikigai study. Because the topic of well-being and including ikigai, sometimes it's an abstract, and it's difficult to talk. 

I don't think even among the listeners, I don't think a lot of people can talk about, for example, meaning in life or happiness, I'm assuming they're English speakers, for an hour and a half. That's hard. I will ask you some questions, but it's still pretty tough. 

That would be resolved with the existence of pictures, there is something tangible that they can talk about. Especially for students there is your point that you're making that older adults tend to have so many life experiences that they can kind of pull back on, they're used to reflections.

Maybe young adults, university students don't have those reflective moments many times. A lot of interviewees said that this was the first time for them to seriously think about ikigai in their life.

The process was asking them to choose a maximum of 10 pictures that they thought related to ikigai in their smartphone, or they could take several days or a week to take new pictures that represented their ikigai.

They would put a title caption on it that would describe when, where, what kind of picture it is and stuff like that. I'll print it out and we'll have our interview with those physical copies of the picture, which I think helped.