Using a slideshow or video of woods, woodland activities and trees is a good way to stimulate natural discussion in a group as they respond to what they see. You could use this as a follow-up method if you are researching a regular group, using pictures or video that you have taken during woodland sessions.

Research method Preparation time Time to gather data Time to analyse data Not suitable for ... Does data indicate wellbeing? Who, what, where people experience wellbeing? Is it an activity in itself?
Slideshow or video discussion 2-3 hours to put together slideshow or video Fast if recording electronically Depends on the length of the discussion – may be time consuming if it prompts a long discussion Individuals who don’t like to talk in front of a group. Doing out in the woods unless you have laptop and a small group! Yes, if people talk freely Yes, with appropriate questions Yes
 Suitable for:

  • participants who find it easier to talk as part of of a group while the focus is elsewhere (on the slideshow/video)
  • participants who are more articulate and feel comfortable with others in the group.

What information is collected?

  • people’s thoughts and feelings rather than observations of actual behaviour
  • taking into account the bias when analysing what people say it is a way for people to be represented directly in the research – you can use direct quotes as evidence
  • results may be affected by passage of time e.g. if you do this after woodland sessions, rather than during.

How is information collected?

  • using video or audio recorders (video is easier to analyse as you can see who’s talking)
  • you could also write notes, this is easier if you are working with someone else
  • can elicit quite emotional responses e.g. to weather, being alone in the woods. This can be useful but you need to consider the effect of the rest of the group and social norms about things such as mud, rain, creepy crawlies.

Watch out for:

  • videos/slideshows prompt free discussion but images and sound can be emotionally manipulating and bias your results. Using footage taken from your woodland activity might avoid this, but may cause ‘rose-tinted’ nostalgia!
  • some individuals can dominate as it’s a group discussion
  • you may need to steer the group if they do not talk naturally, in which case you need to prepare some prompts to avoid bias
  • because this is a group activity, people may influence each other so bias creeps in
  • who is present e.g. teachers, managers or authority figures might stifle some views.


Undirected interviews

Materials needed: video or slideshow – projector/white screen or wall, in a very small group you could huddle round a laptop.

Method: explain to the group that you are going to show them a slideshow/video and that they can all talk or comment on it at any time while it’s running. You may need to run the slideshow/video a couple of times to make people feel comfortable – or do a trial run with slides on a different topic. Make sure that you remind people that you will be recording them before you start, perhaps before you say anything else, so that you can leave the recorder running and they will forget it is there.

Adaptations: when used with a regular group before going to the woods you can use it to assess their expectations and assumptions. This might be useful if you want to look at change over time. It can also prompt ideas for activities from the participants, so is useful for planning sessions.

Pros and cons: as the discussion will be quite open you may discover things about your woodland practice that you hadn’t expected and discover things that you could investigate further in your research. However when you put together your video or slideshow you will be choosing particular pictures/topics and themes so be aware of this bias and remember that that video/pictures are prompts and don’t represent the whole experience.