• Newcastle upon Tyne;
  • England;
  • participatory research;
  • participatory diagramming;
  • young people;
  • crime victimization

Participatory research approaches are increasingly popular with geographers in developed as well as developing countries, as critical qualitative methodologies which at their best work with participants to effect change. This paper adds to recent debates over the methodologies, practices, philosophical and political issues involved. Drawing on a project on young people, exclusion and crime victimization in Newcastle upon Tyne, England, we discuss the limitations of participatory diagramming and illustrate some of the social and political barriers to meaningful participation in, and action from, this type of research.