Q. How did you analyse multimodal data?
Types of multimodal data shared in the webinar included visual materials such as photographs, graphics, and drawings. We also discussed aural or multimedia data, and text or written materials. We described qualitative methods in this Creative Research webinar, and as luck would have it, we recently focused on qualitative data analysis on MethodSpace!
Each post includes links to open access articles, chapters, and books. Many of these posts include tips for analyzing different modes of data. You can find the series, and any posts we add about qualitative analysis, through this link.
Q. Janet, how did you analyse multimodal data?
In one study, participants used the symbolic icons I’d developed and shared prior to the interview to create visual maps. Participants were faculty members, and each map represented the sequence of steps and activities expected of students in a collaborative project. These maps were succinct, at-a-glance visual stories.
I considered the active interview to be semi-structured. I was developing a taxonomy, so that model offered some structure across each participant interaction. Because we started with a set of symbolic icons I had created, there was consistency across maps. For example, arrows always represented process and stars always represented outcomes. If I had started with a blank whiteboard, it would have been more challenging to interpret symbols that each participant used, and to represent them in a consistent way.
When presenting the visual maps, I created a key to define each symbolic icon, so the maps can be understood.
I examined each map, and triangulated my understanding of this data with the points made in the pre-interview written exchanges and the verbal interview. I member-checked my interpretations with each participant via email.
I then looked across all of the maps for common themes or practices. Based on what I found, I made some significant changes to the original taxonomy. Again, I used an email member-checking process to solicit additional input and feedback on the changes.
The book Learning to Collaborate, Collaborating to Learn, is based on this and subsequent research. You can see the Taxonomy of Collaboration and download the icons for mapping projects in the resources section of the publisher’s book site.