Visual grounded analysis : developing and testing a method for preliminary visual research

Cerutti, Lisa (2017) Visual grounded analysis : developing and testing a method for preliminary visual research. Doctoral thesis, London Metropolitan University.

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Abstract

Approaching a new design project by performing preliminary visual research is a common practice in educational and studio settings, particularly in Jewellery and Fashion Design. Collecting images around a given subject or theme - for better understanding its visual traits, or for future reference - could be seen as the counterpart, in visual terms, of a literature search.

However, ‘visual research’ is an expression often used rather vaguely for indicating a spectrum of unstructured methodological approaches, whose procedures and underlying assumptions tend to remain unexplained, undisclosed or unquestioned in everyday studio practice. When creative practice becomes an integral part of academic research, though, there is an increased need for rigor and explicitness regarding every aspect about it, including all the work preliminary to it.

This research aims to develop and test a systematic method for conducting and documenting visual research in the preliminary stages of the design process, contributing to new knowledge in the form of a new visual method, also applicable as a design tool.

A reflection on the vagueness and implicitness of the Intuitive Approach (IA) to visual research adopted in the initial stage of this PhD motivated the search for an alternative method that could make transparent and rigorous the taken-for-granted, subjective assumptions behind the research initially conducted. The iterative and data-driven nature of the IA oriented the methodological quest towards established qualitative approaches in the Social Sciences, focusing on Emergent Methods and Grounded Theory.

By translating and adapting some of their procedures to suit a visual context, a new method, Grounded Visual Analysis (GVA), has been developed and tested, revealing its suitability for achieving a higher degree of explicitness and systematicity in the process of data collection and analysis, and increasing the richness of the visual patterns elicited from the data, thus their potential for stimulating reflective practice.

The development of GVA is offered as the major contribution to knowledge of this research, together with its application on a practical case as the demonstration of its double functioning, either as a reflective method for conducting visual research in the preparatory phase of the design process, and as a design tool for stimulating the generation of new ideas and design briefs.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Grounded Visual Analysis (GVA); visual research; design research
Subjects: 700 The arts; fine & decorative arts
700 The arts; fine & decorative arts > 740 Drawing & decorative arts
Department: The CASS
Depositing User: Mary Burslem
Date Deposited: 15 May 2018 15:23
Last Modified: 15 May 2018 15:23
URI: http://repository.londonmet.ac.uk/id/eprint/1471

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