Analyzing Visual Data

  • Ball M
  • Smith G
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"The book offers communication researchers some of the best recent work on qualitative inquiry in the human disciplines. . . . Published by Sage, the leading publisher of qualitative research in the social sciences today. . . . The authors present a germinal discussion of the limitations of the purely structural and classic content analysis approaches to the reading of visual texts (over-emphasis on manifest content, fragmentation, distortion of meaning). The contributions of cognitive anthropology, ethnomethodology, and poststructuralism to this field are reviewed. This is a valuable book. . . . This work brings the communication scholar up-to-date on where qualitative methods are in current sociological and educational discourse." -Norman K. Denzin in Journal of Communication "A strength of the book is Chapter 2, which shows how content analysis can be applied to visual data. The authors use two studies of fashion to clearly demonstrate the six basic steps of quantitative content analysis and then provide a valuable explanation of the technique's shortcomings." -Journalism Quarterly Visual methods have long been used in ethnography, but rarely examined as a method. In Analyzing Visual Data, Michael S. Ball and Gregory W. H. Smith provide a basic framework for using visual data-namely still photographs-as a tool for social analysis. They determine the importance of theoretical assumptions in analyzing these data, and offer advice on how to use photographs in cognitive, symbolist, and structuralist research. This compact little volume is packed with richly illustrated examples from Native American masks to perfume advertisements. Compact and concise, this widely accessible volumewill benefit students and professionals in sociology, anthropology, and research in communication, advertising, popular culture, and photo journalists.

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  • Michael Ball

  • Gregory Smith

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