Over the course of two visits to the school, we conducted walking interviews with forty 5th graders. They were put into groups which contained four 5th graders, two college students, and a chaperone. These groups were formed randomly by their teachers. Before we went into the park, we read the student assent forms and had the students sign and check whether or not they were comfortable being recorded. Once in the park, we asked them to show us their favorite places and talk about their experiences, since most of them started going to the park in Kindergarten. For the students who wanted to be recorded, we used audio recorders to record the interviews to then transcribe and code later.
We continued our research with the following:
We made a story map, but we cannot show this because it was too revealing of the location. However, we made a less revealing map that is posted here.
Neighborhood Mental Mapping interviews combined (sometimes) with photo elicitation interviews
We had sixteen neighborhood mental mapping interviews conducted over both visits to the school. Students who had permission from a parent or guardian to do the interviews chose which college student they wanted to be interviewed by. Once the pair was formed, students were able to pick a place in the school to be interviewed, such as the library or cafeteria. As always, the college students would begin by reading the assent form to the fifth graders and they’d decide if they wanted to be recorded. Then, the interviewer proceeded to ask questions (listed below) and made sure the student understood what they were supposed to do. The student received paper and a pencil. For the students who had photos, they were given a bag with their photos. They were then asked to describe each photo they took. The questions that were asked are listed below.
- Imagine flying over your neighborhood and draw what you would see. You can tell me about it as you draw or you can draw first and then we can talk about it. (You can start with where you live, your house or apartment.)
- Can you tell me about your map (or tell me about your neighborhood)? Can you show me some of the places that you go to in your neighborhood?
- Where do you spend your free time or hang out? (If they talk about inside places, let them, ask questions, don’t sound disapproving.Then ask: Do you spend time or play outside?) Do you spend time or play anywhere on the map you drew?
- Are there other kids your neighborhood who are about your age? Do you play with them? Do you have friends in your neighborhood? How do you get to your friends’ houses?
- Can you show me on the map where you can go without adults, if anywhere?
- What do you like about your neighborhood? Are there things you don’t like? (this might be repetitive)
- Let’s look at the photos and you can tell me about them.
- Do you have pictures of any of the places on your map?
- As you go through pictures, ask “where is that? Is that a place you like? Why did you take that picture? Who were you with?” or questions like that.