Q & A, continued
Lots of thoughtful questions were posted during the Get Creative! Research with Pictures & Stories webinar. I will answer them in a series of posts. Future posts will include answers to questions directed specifically to panelists Helen Kara and Melissa Nolas.
This questions relates to the definition of the term “multimodal,” and the ways more than one method can be combined in a study.
Q. How is multimethods different from multimodal?
Alas, since many research terms are not defined in a universal way or used consistently, so it is easy to get confused! I hope this explanation is helpful.
Mixed methods refers to research designs that include both qualitative and quantitative data collection and/or data analysis.
Multimethods refers to research designs that include more than one method of data collection and/or data analysis, within the same paradigm. In this webinar we focused on qualitative approaches, using more than one way to collect or analyze qualitative data in the same study. Melissa Nolas’ research is an example: this multimethod study utilized a number of qualitative approaches in participant observations, walking interviews, photovoice and other arts-based methods.
Multimodal research in the context of our webinar, refers to collection of more than one “mode” of data: visual, aural, multimedia or video, written, artifacts. For example, the research I discussed included visual, aural, and written data from participants.
Sarah Pink, author of Sensory Ethnography (2015), observed that
“(multi)sensoriality is essential to understanding aspects of society and culture” (Pink, 2011, p. 262). She’s right that to understand some problems, we need to understand the ways it is experienced through more than one sense, using data that reflects more than one mode of perception.
I’ve looked at multimodality in a slightly different way, since I have an interest in communicating electronically with participants. Online, it is common to mesh pictures, media, and written words in a single message, which can be valuable in data collection. Modes have differing ‘affordances’, different potentials for making meaning. (Kress & Selander, 2012, p. 267).
Find more resources about visual and multimodal methods, including Sarah Pink’s books, in this SAGE Research Methods Reading List:
If your library doesn’t have a subscription, and you would like to access the materials listed here, explore SAGE Research Methods with a free trial.