Sam Whewall Contributes to New Participatory Method

University of Bath Education researcher, Sam Whewall and his supervisor- Dr Michael Donnelly– have developed a new method of mapping individuals’ geographical imaginaries. They use this participatory research method to study the role that geography and geographical perception play in Higher-Education decision-making.

The researchers gave participants blank maps of the UK and asked them to colour them in to reflect where they would like to live when attending university in accordance with a colour-coding system. Then, the participants were interviewed and asked why they had coloured in the map the way they had. Some participants focused on towns and cities, whilst others identified areas and regions. The image that each person had built-up was the product of their own personal experience, stories they had heard and beliefs and feelings about specific places and spaces.


One thing in particular which interested Sam was when participants falsely located cities and regions on the map- because this method studies individual’s perceptions of place, inaccuracies are an important part of the research findings.

An article was published on page four of the NCRM‘s publication- Methods News. You can read the article in full here!

Look out for Sam in the April edition of our newsletter which will be released later this week. Make sure you subscribe so you don’t miss an update!

Sam has also just started a new blog where he plans to record his research, his day-to-day work and a little bit of travelling too! Visit Sam’s blog, or head over to our Student Blogs page to browse the wide selection of blogs that SWDTP students keep.