In all its stages, qualitative research inhabits a visible world. Yet the use of visual data across the life of a research project is a visual span seldom considered in the methodological literature (Albrecht, 1985; Brannen, 2002). From a study largely based on observation and interviews in which visual data did not feature at the outset, we illustrate this longer perspective by focussing on two aspects of span. One refers to the inclusion of visual data throughout a project, from the search for a research setting to the final stage of dissemination. The other concerns the more frequent approach that includes a mix of visual methods, ranging from visual documents of film and photographs (Denzin, 1989) to other visual images and sights fleetingly observed. We argue that to use our eyes in the peripheral as well as the central data gathering stages, and to glean data from what is incidentally noticed as well as harvested with specific visual tools, generate an extended sociological understanding. The visual widens the window on the world of those being studied, bringing the intricacies of their lives closer to both researcher and audience. In this latter regard, we note the value of visual data at the dissemination stage, particularly for audiences of practitioners and those with interests in policy formation.
Allatt, P. and Dixon, C. (2004), "ON USING VISUAL DATA ACROSS THE RESEARCH PROCESS: SIGHTS AND INSIGHTS FROM A SOCIAL GEOGRAPHY OF YOUNG PEOPLE’S INDEPENDENT LEARNING IN TIMES OF EDUCATIONAL CHANGE", Pole, C. (Ed.) Seeing is Believing? Approaches to Visual Research (Studies in Qualitative Methodology, Vol. 7), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 79-104. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1042-3192(04)07006-5Download as .RIS
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