Analyzing Visual Data (Qualitative Research Methods) by Michael S. Ball, Gregory W H Smith

By Michael S. Ball, Gregory W H Smith

This quantity offers a uncomplicated framework for utilizing visible information - specifically nonetheless images - as a device for social research. The authors make sure the significance of theoretical assumptions in interpreting those facts and supply recommendation on tips on how to use images in cognitive, symbolist and structuralist study. The e-book is richly illustrated with examples starting from local American mask to body spray ads.

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Content analysis, as a primarily quantitative method, is not well equipped to give access to those understandings, although as we have shown, it is a helpful way of discovering social patterns that operate, as it were, "behind the backs" of society's members and beyond the scope of (some of) their understandings. The quantitative-qualitative distinction is the methodological dimension of the long-running dispute between proponents of positivism and interpretivism in the social sciences. Although much of what follows will be concerned with interpretivism's contribution to the analysis of visual data, we wish to conclude the chapter, if not on a conciliatory note, at least by cautioning the reader against too easy an acceptance of the convenient dichotomy between quantitative and qualitative research.

For ethnographically inclined researchers, these issues set limits on the usefulness of the method for the analysis of visual representations. MANIFEST AND LATENT CONTENT Berelson (1952) sought to restrict content analysis to what is manifestly apparent in the communicative message, excluding implicit or latent meanings from the coding operation. Our two studies stayed close to this constraint, but accompanying losses should not be ignored. To meet the constraint, a clearly defined category system must plainly state the characteristics of content that are to qualify as instances of a given category (cf.

2). 4). By closely integrating careful ethnographic description with the visual data, the authors are able to discern the elements of face painting and indicate the gender codes they symbolize. The symbolism of color occupies a central place in the analysis of face painting in particular and self-decoration in general. Color has a distinct comparative significance in the study of self-decoration. In most cultures, color is replete with symbolic significance. In both self-decoration and other symbolic systems, colors and color preferences can distinguish different categories of persons, for instance males and females.

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