The Use of Body-Mapping in Interpretative Phenomenological Analyses: A Methodological Discussion

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The increasing popularity of Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) in social research brings an increasing criticism about its validity, robustness and, more recently, its lack of expressive features. Recently, the novel arts-based research approach called body-mapping was recognized as enhancing social science research in creative and nuanced ways. Body-mapping allows for unique insights into participants’ lived experiences, the meaning thereof, and into how meaning is impacted by their socio-cultural contexts. This article provides new understandings about the potential use of body-mapping as part of an IPA framework by drawing upon existing literature to critically discuss their philosophical and methodological congruence. The following discussion demonstrates how particular strengths of body-mapping align with weaknesses of IPA and that, when merged, they may be especially useful for research with vulnerable and hard-to-reach populations. Limitations of this discussion and implications for future research are provided.