The topic of this bulletin arose from a talk given by Dr. Anna Bagnoli, who had used a variety of visual methods in addition to verbal interviews in order to holistically study young people’s identities. Intrigued by the question of how such data could be collected and analysed to contribute to understandings of psychological topics, the author of this post recently carried out an interview with Dr. Bagnoli on behalf of the Open University Psychological Society (Rouse, 2013). In this bulletin post the author will share what she has learnt from this interview and by researching the use of visual methods to explore experience and meaning.
Although qualitative research methods have grown increasingly popular,confusion exists over how their quality can be assessed and the idea persists that qualitative research is of lesser value when compared to quantitative research. Quantitative and qualitative research have different historical roots and are based on very different concepts, yet the dominance of positivist ideas about what constitutes good quality, valid research in psychology has often led qualitative research to be evaluated according to criteria, that are designed to fit a very different paradigm. Inevitably, the diverse perspectives which use qualitative methods and their differing views on how people should be studied mean there is disagreement and controversy over how quality should be evaluated. Despite this, it is seen as important to develop common criteria which allow the quality of qualitative research to be evaluated on its own terms.