Adventures in Visual Analysis

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Jenna Hartel


This paper tells the story of an arts-informed, visual study−the iSquare Research Program−and the four visual analysis techniques that have been used across its history: compositional interpretation, thematic analysis, pictorial metaphor analysis, and content analysis. When each analytical strategy was applied, in turn, to the visual data set of more than 2,000 original drawings, different insights about the target subject of ‘information’ came into view. To begin, the iSquare Research Program is introduced and placed in the disciplinary context of information science. One at a time, the research questions that emerged in the project and their complementary analytical strategies are outlined, with attention to matters of implementation, interpretation, and results. By the conclusion, readers will be able to distinguish and compare the four visual analysis techniques and can thereafter synchronize one or more to their own research projects and questions. Overall, what follows is an adventure story about the selective focusing power of analytic lenses and their ability to generate myriad discoveries within a singular visual data set.

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How to Cite
Hartel, J. (2017). Adventures in Visual Analysis. Visual Methodologies, 5(1), 80-91.
Special Issue: Fourth International Visual Methods Conference

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