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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.

TAGS

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

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
24 APRIL 2016

The Stances of the Observer in Participant Observation

"The degree to which the researcher involves himself/herself in participation in the culture under study makes a difference in the quality and amount of data he/she will be able to collect. GOLD (1958) has provided a description of observer stances that extend Buford JUNKER's explanation of four theoretical stances for researchers conducting field observations. GOLD relates the four observation stances as follows:

At one extreme is the complete participant, who is a member of the group being studied and who conceals his/her researcher role from the group to avoid disrupting normal activity. The disadvantages of this stance are that the researcher may lack objectivity, the group members may feel distrustful of the researcher when the research role is revealed, and the ethics of the situation are questionable, since the group members are being deceived.

In the participant as observer stance, the researcher is a member of the group being studied, and the group is aware of the research activity. In this stance, the researcher is a participant in the group who is observing others and who is interested more in observing than in participating, as his/her participation is a given, since he/she is a member of the group. This role also has disadvantages, in that there is a trade off between the depth of the data revealed to the researcher and the level of confidentiality provided to the group for the information they provide.

The observer as participant stance enables the researcher to participate in the group activities as desired, yet the main role of the researcher in this stance is to collect data, and the group being studied is aware of the researcher's observation activities. In this stance, the researcher is an observer who is not a member of the group and who is interested in participating as a means for conducting better observation and, hence, generating more complete understanding of the group's activities. MERRIAM (1998) points out that, while the researcher may have access to many different people in this situation from whom he/she may obtain information, the group members control the level of information given. As ADLER and ADLER (1994, p.380) note, this 'peripheral membership role' enables the researcher to 'observe and interact closely enough with members to establish an insider's identity without participating in those activities constituting the core of group membership.'

The opposite extreme stance from the complete participant is the complete observer, in which the researcher is completely hidden from view while observing or when the researcher is in plain sight in a public setting, yet the public being studied is unaware of being observed. In either case, the observation in this stance is unobtrusive and unknown to participants. [21]"

(Barbara B. Kawulich, 2005)

Kawulich, B. (2005). 'Participant Observation as a Data Collection Method'. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 6(2). Retrieved from http://www.qualitative-research.net/index.php/fqs/article/view/466/996

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TAGS

2005 • Barbara Kawulich • Buford Junker • complete observer stance • complete participant stance • confidentiality • data collection method • data collection techniquesdeceptiondistrustfield methods • field observation • field research • field researcher • Forum Qualitative Social Researchgroup membershipobjectivity • observation stances • observer as participant stance • observer stances • participant as observer stance • participant observation • Patricia Adler • peripheral membership role • Peter Adler • qualitative research • questionable ethics • Raymond Gold • researcher • researcher role • Sharan Merriam • sociological field observation • theoretical stances for researchers • typology of the participant observer roles

CONTRIBUTOR

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–resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:0114– fqs0101153.

TAGS

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

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
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