Qualitative Researcher, 11 pp 9-11

This paper outlines two methods we used in Connected Lives: one of four projects of the ESRC National Centre for Research Methods: Real Life Methods Node. Connected Lives was a qualitatively
driven mixed-method research project exploring networks, neighbourhoods and community. We set out to understand the dynamic, processual and contingent nature of relations within an
individual’s network of ties and contacts (Crow, 2004; Emirbayer, 1997) through a number of methods, including participatory social mapping and walking interviews discussed here. We foreground our discussion of these methods by outlining three methodological challenges of understanding the nature and scope of community. We do not present the methods as panaceas for these challenges but rather hope they stimulate debate into how methodological creativity can offer fresh insight into researching communities.