Capturing visual metaphors and tales: innovative or elusive?

Elliot, D. L. , Reid, K. and Baumfield, V. (2017) Capturing visual metaphors and tales: innovative or elusive? International Journal of Research and Method in Education, 40(5), pp. 480-496. (doi: 10.1080/1743727X.2016.1181164)

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Despite the exponential growth of visual research in the social sciences in the last three decades, continuing empirical enquiries are arguably more relevant than ever. Earlier research employed visual methods primarily to investigate distinct cultural practices, often seeking the views of marginalised, challenging or hard-to-reach participants. In this study, non-British postdoctoral academics took photographs that visually or symbolically represented the highlights of their academic acculturation experience as international PhD students in the UK. The semi-structured interviews of academic and non-academic related experiences that made a significant impression revolved around participants’ visual metaphors. Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis, a widely employed inductive qualitative technique, was utilised, with visual data complementing the narrative evidence. This innovative method both aesthetically and insightfully enhanced the representation of participants’ lived experiences and was instrumental in validating participants’ narratives. Additionally, this article examines the pragmatic utility of employing metaphors in a photo elicitation technique (also critically reflected upon by the participants who are academic researchers themselves). The paper therefore offers a collective reflection not only on the features and advantages of this approach, but also on the key challenges and some recommendations to inform contemporary visual methods practice.

Item Type:Articles
Keywords:Visual metaphors, creative photo elicitation, informative and symbolic photos, interpretative phenomenological analysis, academic acculturation.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Reid, Dr Kate and Baumfield, Professor Vivienne and Elliot, Dr Dely
Authors: Elliot, D. L., Reid, K., and Baumfield, V.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Education > Creativity Culture and Faith
College of Social Sciences > School of Education > Pedagogy Policy and Practice
College of Social Sciences > School of Education > Social Justice Place and Lifelong Education
Journal Name:International Journal of Research and Method in Education
Publisher:Taylor & Francis
ISSN (Online):1743-7288
Published Online:27 April 2016
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2016 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor and Francis Group
First Published:First published in International Journal of Research and Method in Education 40(5): 480-496
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy

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