Exploring weather-related experiences and practices: examining methodological approaches
With projected climate change, it is increasingly important to understand the current role of weather in everyday life and how it may change in the future. This paper evaluates two qualitative research approaches for their ability to generate insight into weather-related experiences and everyday practices. As these mundane day-to-day weather interactions often escape memory over time, the paper calls into question the ability of conventional methodological approaches that rely on recall to accurately excavate these events. The research examined serial one-on-one, semi-structured interviews with an adapted short-term focus, and daily diary-photographs. Each approach was applied to one of two Australian cities with sharply contrasting climates - Melbourne and Darwin. Both approaches were able to generate insight into weather-related experiences and practices. However, both presented problems. In interviews, these problems related to retrospective accounts beyond 'yesterday', where physical experience recollections became limited. For diary-photographs, inspiring participants to continually complete and submit contributions proved problematic. I argue that interviews are better for documenting routine practice and generalised experiences, while diary-photographs are better at showing fine-grained detail of physical experiences. Where both aspects are sought, as in this study, a combination is possible. However, using dual methods increases the risk of participant fatigue.