New approaches to image-based research and visual literacy: A pilot project report

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapters

Abstract

This paper details the results of a pilot project that explored the use of Image-based Research and a new method of collecting visual data online. Image-based research should be the fundamental method for investigating visual, media and digital literacies, yet it has only seen a modest amount of interest. In pursuing this imbalance a small study was conducted availing of Amazon’s new online marketplace, Mechanical Turk. This crowd sourcing technology allows researcher requests to be submitted to a database where they are made available for individual members to select and complete. These are known as Human Intelligence Tasks, or HITs. Using Mechanical Turk, image-based data was gathered to explore the crowd sourcing mechanism itself with visual literacy as the pretext and insight into understand the visual interpretation of words as the intended outcome. Two HITs were created which asked respondents to submit visual representations, three per person, in response to word sets that were posted on the site. Each word set consisted of three words that varied from concrete to abstract concepts. The research and image data yielded some very interesting results of how people perceive and represent concepts visually. The conclusions, although underdeveloped in the scope of this pilot, suggest a globalizing effect on imagery might be taking place. If developed further continued research could help inform visually based literacy/media studies and usher in a new method of online data collection. The use of Mechanical Turk and similar methods that employ new media technologies have the potential to promote and further image-based research and inform methodologies in visual literacy, art education and other areas. Copyright © 2012 The International Visual Literacy Association.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNew horizons in visual literacy: Selected readings of the International Visual Literacy Association
EditorsMaria D. AVGERINOU, Scott B. CHANDLER, Patricia SEARCH, Marilyn TERZIC
Place of PublicationLithuania
PublisherSMC Scientia Educologica
Pages122-132
ISBN (Print)6099521933, 9786099521930
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Citation

McMaster, S. (2012). New approaches to image-based research and visual literacy: A pilot project report. In M. D. Avgerinou, S. B. Chandler, P. Search, & M. Terzic (Eds.), New horizons in visual literacy: Selected readings of the International Visual Literacy Association (pp. 122-132). Lithuania: SMC Scientia Educologica.

Keywords

  • Image-based research
  • Visual literacy
  • Mturk
  • Art education
  • Globalization

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