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08 OCTOBER 2017

Understanding through Pictures versus an Understanding about Pictures

"When developing qualitative methods for the interpretation of pictures, it seems to be important not to explain pictures by texts, but to differentiate them from texts. Nevertheless, it seems equally important to develop common standards or methodological devices which are relevant for the interpretation of texts, as well as for the interpretation of pictures. Examples of common standards are: to treat the text as well as the picture as a self-referential system, to differentiate between explicit and implicit (atheoretical) knowledge, to change the analytic stance from the question What to the question How, to reconstruct the formal structures of texts as well as pictures in order to integrate single elements into the over-all context, and—last but not least—to use comparative analysis. The application or realization of these common standards and methodological devices in the field of the interpretation of pictures, however, has to be quite different from that of the interpretation of texts, if we intend to advance to iconicity as a self-contained domain, to its inherent laws and to its autonomy independent from texts."

(Ralf Bohnsack, 2008)

Volume 9, No. 3, Art. 26 – September 2008, Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research.


Alfred Schutz • analytic mentality • atheoretical knowledge • Bildlichkeit • Charles Goodwin • communicative knowledge • comparative analysis • conjunctive knowledge • conversational analysis • cultural phenomena • documentary meaning • Documentary Method of Interpretation • empirical social sciences • Erving Goffman • Erwin Panofsky • ethnomethodology • formal compositional structure • Forum Qualitative Social Research • Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung • FQS • Gottfried Boehm • Hans Belting • Harold GarfinkelHarvey Sacks • hyper-ritualization • iconic meaning • iconicityiconography • iconology • image-based understanding • immanent meaning • interpretative methods • Karl MannheimKarl Popper • linguistic turn • literal meaning • Martin Heidegger • Max Imdahl • meaning image-based depictions • Niklas Luhmann • Peter BergerPierre Bourdieuplanimetric composition • Praxeological Sociology of Knowledge • qualitative methodsqualitative research • Ralf Bohnsack • research practiceRoland Barthes • self-referential systems • semantic structure • semiotics • sequence analysis • simultaneitysocial phenomenasocial realitysociologysociology of knowledgetacit knowledge • text interpretation • theory of action • Thomas Luckmann • transcontrariness • typification • Umberto Ecovideo analysis • visible phenomena


Simon Perkins
16 MARCH 2013

Complex representations not simple quantified measurement

"Primarily because of its association with achievements in the physical sciences, quantified measurement seems a step toward enhanced precision. But, precision, as understood here, means more than reliability and validity; it also requires appropriately complex representation of the target construct. In phenomenological terms, precision refers to the distinctiveness that fosters reliability, the coherence that assures validity, and the richness that is appropriate to the targeted phenomenon. First, distinctiveness is the extent to which a phenomenon is discriminable from others. Judgments about distinctiveness require more than explicit (e.g., operational) definitions. They require the capacity to anticipate attributes that remain implicit in even the most explicitly conceived phenomenon and, on the basis of those implicit meanings, to consistently verify that phenomenon's presence or absence. Second, coherence is the extent to which judgments about the attribute structure of a particular phenomenon are congruent. Short of logical entailment but beyond associative contingency, judgments about coherence require consideration of both the explicit and implicit meanings of the attribute structure they describe. Third, richness is the extent to which judgments about a phenomenon capture its complexity and intricacy. Richness entails full differentiation of a phenomenon's attributes, identification of its attribute structure, and appreciation of its structural incongruities."

(Don Kuiken and David Miall, 2001)

[4] profiles and the ideal prototype. This numeric assessment of degree involves profiles of attributes rather than individual attributes. Although we appreciate the potential importance of the latter (see note 3), we have not attempted to address the analytic problems that arise from the combination of nominal and ordinal variables in estimates of profile similarity. It should be noted, however, that some available software facilitates the assessment of ordinal information during attribute identification (cf. KUCKARTZ 1995; WEITZMAN & MILES 1995). The possibility of coordinating ordinal and nominal attribute judgments deserves further consideration.

Kuiken, Don & Miall, David S. (2001). "Numerically Aided Phenomenology: Procedures for Investigating Categories of Experience." [68 paragraphs]. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 2(1), Art. 15, http://nbn–– fqs0101153.


2001academic journalappropriately complex representation • associative contingency • coherencecomplexity • David Miall • differentiation • discriminable • distinctiveness • Don Kuiken • Eben Weitzman • explicit definitionsexplicit knowledgeexplicit meaningexplicit objectivesexplicitly definedForum Qualitative Social ResearchFQSimplicit informationimplicit meaning • implicitly • imprecision • intricacyinvestigative praxis • judgments • logical entailment • Matthew Miles • online journaloperational criteriaoperational definitionsphenomenologicalphenomenonphysical sciencesprecisionqualitative researchquantification of variablesquantified measurementreliabilityreliability and validityrich descriptions • richness • structural incongruities • target construct • targeted phenomenon • Udo Kuckartz • validity


Simon Perkins

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