Somewhere Over the Rainbow The Use of Color in the Draw-and-Write Technique

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Jenna Hartel
Mahika Phutane
Stephanie Posa
Sicily Shi
Annie Xu
Sydney Bradshaw


Visual methods are flourishing across the social sciences, and the draw-and-write technique is an increasingly popular research design. This paper contributes to the methodological conversation on the draw-and-write technique by addressing the differing impacts of participant-generated drawings made in black and white, or color. As background for the topic, we first comment upon the history of color in media and the arts, the physiological mechanisms of color perception, and the sociocultural construction of color. Then, we analyze three significant draw-and-write studies of teachers (Weber & Mitchell, 1995), information (Hartel, 2014a), and energy (Bowden, Lockton, Gheerawo, & Brass, 2015), with analytical attention upon the matter of color in the research design and outcome. Subsequently, the factor of color is discussed in relation to a research project’s practicality, paradigm, topic, participants, and dissemination formats. Attention is given to the chromatic problem of depicting human beings in drawings, as well as the feasibility of releasing control of color entirely. By the conclusion of the paper, enthusiasts of the draw-and-write technique will be able to more strategically align the spectrum of their drawing instruments with their research constraints and objectives.

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How to Cite
Hartel, J., Phutane, M., Posa, S., Shi, S., Xu, A., & Bradshaw, S. (2021). Somewhere Over the Rainbow. Visual Methodologies, 8(1), 16 - 36.

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