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Journal Article

Uncovering Hidden Meanings, Values and Insights Through Photos  pp25-34

Maria Ryan, Madeleine Ogilvie

© Jan 2011 Volume 9 Issue 1, ECRM 2010 Special issue Part 2/Jan 2011, Editor: Ann Brown, David Douglas, Marian Carcary and Jose Esteves, pp1 - 87

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Photographs have been used as a means of data capture for many years. Their use in recording observable phenomenon in anthropology is well documented. They also provide a valuable tool for researchers from other disciplines. This paper explores the use of photographs in qualitative business research. It demonstrates how the use of photographs can enrich the business research process through a range of techniques such as photo‑elicitation, autodriving, projective prompts and phenomenological interviews. Drawing from a selection of the researchers’ past studies, a comparative review of the use of photographs and the benefits they bring to the data capture process is examined. These studies range from an analysis of visible face makeup, place attachment in a rural community using farmers and town respondents and international students’ perceptions of home. The photographs capture the outside image of what a respondent is sensing and experiencing inwardly, providing a prompt for the respondent to drive the interview with their own words, language and values. In all instances photographs were found to augment the quality and richness of the data captured and provide an extra depth of analysis that otherwise may not have been discovered. In addition, the paper highlights the dynamics involved in the process of using visual data capture methods. The photographs were used for respondents to engage in a free sorting task which is useful in uncovering respondents’ values and meanings when asked to explain choices made between their photographs. This is of particular use in difficult to articulate situations like face makeup self perceptions and personal attachment to the environment. Our findings suggest that photographs are an increasingly important tool to use in business research and that they enhance the breadth and insight of the qualitative research process. The procedures and value gained using photographs are outlined along with a discussion on the benefits and disadvantages of this process.


Keywords: photoelicitation, qualitative research, autodriving, projective prompts, interviews


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Journal Issue

Volume 9 Issue 1, ECRM 2010 Special issue Part 2/Jan 2011 / Jan 2011  pp1‑87

Editor: Ann Brown, David Douglas, Marian Carcary, Jose Esteves

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These papers dealt with the problems facing management researchers in a variety of ways. The keynote paper by Eileen Trauth discusses the issues that gender research raise for business. Three papers offer advice on qualitative data analysis, of which the paper by Carcary deals with methods of collection using IT, Ryan and Ogilvie identify an unusual data source and the third (Reiter et al) deals with the problem of choosing the appropriate research method. The two papers on research methodology address entirely different types of issue. The paper by Knowles and Michielsens gives all a fascinating insight into research methods that top journals apparently prefer. Iacono et al demonstrate how effective case study methods can be in developing theory. The two final papers address the subject of teaching research methods but again offer widely different views.


Keywords: autodriving, building theory from case studies, CAQDAS, case study research, categorisation, coding, critical theory, diversity, epistemology, feminism, gender and IT, gender differences, grounded theory, individual differences, interpretive research, interpretivist research, interviews, iterative process, marking rubrics, memos, N-vivo, phenomenology, photoelicitation, positivist research, primary data, projective prompts, qualitative, qualitative data analysis, qualitative research, quantitative, RAE 2008, REF 2013, research audit trail, research in large classes, research mentors, research method selection, research methodology, research methods, research outcomes, research training, social inclusion, teaching quantitative research, theory, theory of gender , Web 2, women and IT workforce,


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