'That's not quite the way we see it': the epistemological challenge of visual data

Kate Wall, Steve Higgins, Elaine Hall, Pam Woolner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

15 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In research textbooks, and much of the research practice, they describe, qualitative processes and interpretivist epistemologies tend to dominate visual methodology. This article challenges the assumptions behind this dominance. Using exemplification from three existing visual data sets produced through one large education research project, this article considers the affordances and constraints of the research process focusing particularly on analysis. It examines how and when the visual can be incorporated, gives some critical reflections on the role and use of visual methods to fulfil different research intents, and, in particular, considers combining large, open-ended data sets with acceptable and rigorous analysis techniques. We then explore arguments about the nature of visual data, what is considered epistemologically appropriate and the decision-making which accompanies any appraisal of process in education research. The intention is to challenge ourselves, and fellow visual methods researchers, to develop a more complete understanding of the theory and practice of visual research. © 2013 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-22
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Journal of Research and Method in Education
Volume36
Issue number1
Early online date5 Nov 2012
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2013

Keywords

  • analysis
  • epistemology
  • mixed method research
  • research methodology
  • visual methods

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