Cufflinks, Photos and YouTube: The benefits of third object prompts when researching race and discrimination in elite higher education

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Research suggests that interviews, unaided by additional methods, may be an ineffective way to explore young people’s experiences with sensitive issues. Researching minority youth’s experiences on personal or emotionally charged issues requires research techniques that enable young people to reflect on issues in a way that reduces the potential discomfort involved in such discourse. This article discusses the methodological approach of incorporating interviews with ‘third objects’ via photos, cufflinks and video in a study aimed at facilitating conversations with black British university men about the significance of their parents guidance during their formative and adolescent years, and their experiences with racism during their higher education studies. The overarching message of this article is that when exploring personal and sometimes emotional topics, the implementation of third object visual and physical prompts with semi-structured interviews can contribute to the depth of findings by unearthing the seldom heard counter-narratives of marginalised ‘others’.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages21
JournalQualitative Research
Early online date6 Dec 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 6 Dec 2020

Bibliographical note

© The Author(s) 2020


  • Third object prompts, black men, education, critical race theory, discrimination, capitals

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