All Academic, Inc. Research Logo

Info/CitationFAQResearchAll Academic Inc.
Document

Visual Research in the Social Sciences: Key elements of a taxonomic and methodological framework
Unformatted Document Text:  6 consumption. When researchers produce imagery themselves, a more active visual knowledge and skill is required, since in that case they will be fully responsible for the epistemological consequences of each technical choice they make. Margaret Mead asserted that in the past the success of a research project disproportionally depended on the verbal, even literary skills of the anthropologist: ’[...] having no medium other than words’, she said ’the inarticulate field worker never was able to communicate to his colleagues the fine detail which he had observed but could not describe’ (1963: 166-184). Mead considered photography as the ideal means for ’equalising communication gifts’, but failed to see that with regard to visual skill a similar problem of ’being gifted’ occurs, and that producing scientific articulate imagery requires a skill that is as least as difficult to acquire. Visual scientific literacy, if we may coin this term, implies a thorough insight in the specific characteristics of visual media along with the skill to translate scientific insights into their visual manifestations. Ultimately, visual scientific literacy manifests itself in a form of visual thinking throughout the complete research process: starting with the conception of a problem, through the phase of data gathering or material production, during the phase of analysis or further processing up to the presentation of the data and the findings. 4.3. The amount of control over intentional and unintentional influences The third critical factor has to do with an important aspect of the representativeness of the data. Researchers should have a keen eye for unintended and uncontrolled influences on the researched situation that could be attributed to their and/or the camera’s presence (or to some other ’limiting’ or ’disturbing’ instances, for instance forms of censorship before, during or after the shooting). Further, they should evaluate how and to what extent these influences and instances affect what is considered ’normal’, or at least what could be considered acceptable within the context of their research, and be knowledgeable of techniques to reduce the occurrence of various forms of obtrusiveness or other kinds of unintentional influence (or find ways to creatively take advantage of them). Undesired influences may be reduced first of all by a thorough investigation and preparation of the field of research, including a gradual introduction of both the set-up and the instrument (the camera) of the research and by providing information about the possible consequences to the people involved. Monitored behaviour often stems from an understandable fear on the part of the observed of being treated unfairly. So if people have been given the time to become more or less accustomed to the special situation and have sufficient information regarding its purpose, we can expect that the data are more representative. Whether behaviour will be representative or not also has to do with the varying degrees of freedom of those observed to respond to the camera. Recording rituals and other strictly prescribed activities is far less problematic in this regard than trying to record spontaneous behaviour (e.g. an informal conversation) where a certain degree of reactivity is unavoidable. The relation and interaction between the researchers and the observed before,

Authors: Pauwels, Luc.
first   previous   Page 6 of 11   next   last



background image
6
consumption. When researchers produce imagery themselves, a more active visual knowledge
and skill is required, since in that case they will be fully responsible for the epistemological
consequences of each technical choice they make.
Margaret Mead asserted that in the past the success of a research project disproportionally
depended on the verbal, even literary skills of the anthropologist: ’[...] having no medium other
than words’, she said ’the inarticulate field worker never was able to communicate to his
colleagues the fine detail which he had observed but could not describe’ (1963: 166-184). Mead
considered photography as the ideal means for ’equalising communication gifts’, but failed to
see that with regard to visual skill a similar problem of ’being gifted’ occurs, and that producing
scientific articulate imagery requires a skill that is as least as difficult to acquire.
Visual scientific literacy, if we may coin this term, implies a thorough insight in the specific
characteristics of visual media along with the skill to translate scientific insights into their visual
manifestations. Ultimately, visual scientific literacy manifests itself in a form of visual thinking
throughout the complete research process: starting with the conception of a problem, through
the phase of data gathering or material production, during the phase of analysis or further
processing up to the presentation of the data and the findings.
4.3. The amount of control over intentional and unintentional influences
The third critical factor has to do with an important aspect of the representativeness of the data.
Researchers should have a keen eye for unintended and uncontrolled influences on the
researched situation that could be attributed to their and/or the camera’s presence (or to some
other ’limiting’ or ’disturbing’ instances, for instance forms of censorship before, during or after
the shooting). Further, they should evaluate how and to what extent these influences and
instances affect what is considered ’normal’, or at least what could be considered acceptable
within the context of their research, and be knowledgeable of techniques to reduce the
occurrence of various forms of obtrusiveness or other kinds of unintentional influence (or find
ways to creatively take advantage of them).
Undesired influences may be reduced first of all by a thorough investigation and preparation of
the field of research, including a gradual introduction of both the set-up and the instrument (the
camera) of the research and by providing information about the possible consequences to the
people involved. Monitored behaviour often stems from an understandable fear on the part of
the observed of being treated unfairly.
So if people have been given the time to become more or less accustomed to the special
situation and have sufficient information regarding its purpose, we can expect that the data are
more representative. Whether behaviour will be representative or not also has to do with the
varying degrees of freedom of those observed to respond to the camera. Recording rituals and
other strictly prescribed activities is far less problematic in this regard than trying to record
spontaneous behaviour (e.g. an informal conversation) where a certain degree of reactivity is
unavoidable. The relation and interaction between the researchers and the observed before,


Convention
Convention is an application service for managing large or small academic conferences, annual meetings, and other types of events!
Submission - Custom fields, multiple submission types, tracks, audio visual, multiple upload formats, automatic conversion to pdf.
Review - Peer Review, Bulk reviewer assignment, bulk emails, ranking, z-score statistics, and multiple worksheets!
Reports - Many standard and custom reports generated while you wait. Print programs with participant indexes, event grids, and more!
Scheduling - Flexible and convenient grid scheduling within rooms and buildings. Conflict checking and advanced filtering.
Communication - Bulk email tools to help your administrators send reminders and responses. Use form letters, a message center, and much more!
Management - Search tools, duplicate people management, editing tools, submission transfers, many tools to manage a variety of conference management headaches!
Click here for more information.

first   previous   Page 6 of 11   next   last

©2012 All Academic, Inc.