Chapter 30: Using Pictures to Analyse and Construct Knowledge
Paul Reader A LENS ON VISUAL RESEARCH Visual research in education poses significant questions about what it means to ‘analyse’. When and where should analysis be embedded in or replaced by holistic methods of construction? The underlying premise of this chapter is that there are different forms of knowledge, not all of which are reducible to linear written texts in any economical way. The ubiquity of visual communication in online social networking has challenged education and research institutions, and the acceptance of verbal reasoning as the prime form of academic communication (Krier and Woodman, 2008). Not all cultures know and understand life in so verbal a way as in the academic culture of the last few hundred years, so it is timely to begin a closer look at how pictures can be better used in educational research. Working with pictures, still images, painting, drawing or image sequences such as video, can result in discovery or construction of different kinds of knowledge, including qualitative research outputs evident in the photo methods discussed by Allen (Chapter 17, this volume) and in the mixed methodology of including participant visual constructions as written text, with interview techniques explored by Thomson and Holland (Chapter 22, this volume). Depending on the research method, working with the pictures will involve juxtapositioning (seeing what occurs when placing images next to each other), building and integrating of visual material, as often as it involves overt analysis as verbal reasoning and decisionmaking. The visual process is often iterative, and recursive,...
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