Julia Niemann / Stephanie Geise

Exploring the Visual Sphere of Youth

Methodische Überlegungen zur Implementierung der assoziativen Logik Visueller Kommunikation in Ansätze der nicht-standardisierten Jugendmedienforschung

[Exploring the Visual Sphere of Youth: Methodological considerations for implementing the associative logic of Visual Communication in approaches of non-standardized Youth Media Research]

Especially when subjective patterns of interpretation, individual impressions, associations or motives are of interest, in-depth interviews and focus groups are particularly useful in visual research. However, in analyzing communicative behavior of adolescents with and through pictures, methodological limitations evolve quickly – verbalizing actions and underlying interpretation is challenging, especially for young participants. A promising methodological approach to facilitate verbalization during qualitative interview studies is the implementation of visual stimuli into the visual research process. Using associative and projective interviewing techniques, e.g. visual elicitation through picture cards, the accessibility of underlying meaning patterns can be improved. This approach appears particularly promising, as visual representations are tangible and concrete as well as multifaceted and open for subjective interpretation. Against this background, the authors discuss the analytical potentials and methodological limitations of implementing visual stimuli in qualitative interviews in relation to theories of visual communication and cognitive psychology. On that basis, a research example dealing with the representation of economic, social and cultural capital expressed in pictures uploaded Facebook, is introduced and discussed.