chapter  22
16 Pages

‘So you think we’ve moved, changed, the representation got more what?’ Methodological and analytical reflections on visual (photo-elicitation) methods used in the Men-as-Fathers study

ByKAREN HENWOOD, FIONA SHIRANI, MARK FINN

Why research the visual? Within the social sciences generally (Kress and Van Leeuwen, 2001), and qualitative psychology specifically (Reavey and Johnson, 2008; Frith et al., 2005), realisation is growing of the value of working with data in different media (audio, visual and textual), for giving researchers access to different modalities of meaning.1 Since the 1990s (Henwood and Pidgeon, 1992; Henwood and Nicolson, 1995), speaking and writing have been key modalities for qualitative psychologists inquiring into the experiential, relational, embodied, socially situated, discursively constituted, and culturally meaningful ways in which people encounter others, live out their daily lives, and engage with their everyday worlds (see e.g. Camic et al., 2003; Willig and Stainton Rogers, 2008). There is now a strong case for further expanding such research by recording and analysing visual data (e.g. photographs, paintings, films) where experiencing, representing and communicating meaning is accomplished in visual mode. Recording and analysing what is seen and how it is viewed, along with the ways of telling inspired by such viewings and sightings, gives access to different types of information not available by other means, enriching ways of representing experience and enhancing understanding of studied life (Reavey and Johnson, 2008).