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Visual Research in the Social Sciences: Key elements of a taxonomic and methodological framework
Unformatted Document Text:  8 Scheme 1: Critical Factors of Visual Datagathering and Processing THEORETICAL FOUNDATION VISUAL COMPETENCE CONTROL INTENTIONAL AND UNINTENTIONAL INFLUENCES PROVISION OF INTERNAL AND EXTERNAL CONTEXTS • Selecting a theoretical point of departure with an explicit visual dimension • Appropriate operation- alisation and visual translation of theory • Preliminary investigation of the specific features of the field and the chances of using visual media • Sufficient technical knowledge and skill • Active knowledge of the dynamic language and conventions of visual media in their cultural context • Insight into the epistemological con- sequences of each technical or media related choice • Proper assessment of the influences of the research conditions on the researched situation (observatoreffects, visual researcher reliability, censorship). • Recognise and justify intentional interventions in the field • Apply techniques and create favorable circumstances to diminish undesirable influences to an acceptable minimum • Provide image-internal context: - establish part-whole relationships within the visual product itself • Provide image-external context: - document and justify the chosen methodology and the exact production circumstances - compare / supplement with other kinds of data and findings (e.g.informants responses) While the guidelines mentioned above are generally sound research principles which will be helpful for quite a number of situations or approaches, they do not at all ensure the creation of intellectually stimulating products that will capitalise on the real strengths of the visual (combined with other means of expression), nor can they be used as exclusive criteria to evalu- ate the ’scientific’ value of a particular product. Some visual social scientists hate their new trade being subjected to rules. But science, including visual science is never served by vagueness. Of course guidelines and methodology will never be a valid substitute for a creative and sensitive approach to society by means of the camera, but nevertheless they will offer stepping stones for reaching a higher level of scientific creation, both by providing a road map or checklist for production and an instrument for evaluation and a common basis for discussion.

Authors: Pauwels, Luc.
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8
Scheme 1: Critical Factors of Visual Datagathering and Processing
THEORETICAL
FOUNDATION
VISUAL COMPETENCE
CONTROL
INTENTIONAL AND
UNINTENTIONAL
INFLUENCES
PROVISION OF
INTERNAL AND
EXTERNAL CONTEXTS
• Selecting a theoretical
point of departure with an
explicit visual dimension
• Appropriate operation-
alisation and visual
translation of theory
• Preliminary investigation
of the specific features of
the field and the chances
of using visual media
• Sufficient technical
knowledge and skill
• Active knowledge of the
dynamic language and
conventions of visual
media in their cultural
context
• Insight into the
epistemological con-
sequences of each
technical or media related
choice
• Proper assessment of
the influences of the
research conditions on
the researched situation
(observatoreffects, visual
researcher reliability,
censorship).
• Recognise and justify
intentional interventions in
the field
• Apply techniques and
create favorable
circumstances to diminish
undesirable influences to
an acceptable minimum
• Provide image-internal
context:
- establish part-whole
relationships within the
visual product itself
• Provide image-external
context:
- document and justify
the chosen methodology
and the exact production
circumstances
- compare / supplement
with other kinds of data
and findings
(e.g.informants
responses)
While the guidelines mentioned above are generally sound research principles which will be
helpful for quite a number of situations or approaches, they do not at all ensure the creation of
intellectually stimulating products that will capitalise on the real strengths of the visual
(combined with other means of expression), nor can they be used as exclusive criteria to evalu-
ate the ’scientific’ value of a particular product.
Some visual social scientists hate their new trade being subjected to rules. But science,
including visual science is never served by vagueness. Of course guidelines and methodology
will never be a valid substitute for a creative and sensitive approach to society by means of the
camera, but nevertheless they will offer stepping stones for reaching a higher level of scientific
creation, both by providing a road map or checklist for production and an instrument for
evaluation and a common basis for discussion.


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