A Multimodal Digital Approach to Qualitative Research

By Jennifer Kingma Wall

This Spark session will briefly overview the concept of Creative Analytic Practices (CAP) (Richardson, 2000) as a qualitative research method, and will explain how integrating digital technology through a multimodal digital approach to a CAP qualitative study can provide new approaches and modes for meaning making as well as produce different understandings of the research process and product.  The bulk of the presentation will focus on sharing examples of students’ work, which use multimodal digital approaches to qualitative case studies, and describing how this approach changed their research process, interpretations, and products (videos, video collages, and audio mixes vs. traditional academic papers). The goal is to provide a quick picture into how and why professors might want to incorporate a multimodal digital CAP lens to teaching qualitative research, and more broadly, any teacher in the humanities might consider incorporating multimodal digital work into their traditional assignments.

Session Overview: The structure of this brief Spark session will include:

      • A brief introduction to the concept of CAP as an approach to qualitative research.
      • The introduction of digital technology and multimodal approaches as new ways to approach a CAP qualitative study.
      • A brief overview of a case study project from a Masters of the Art of Teaching course in which students had the opportunity to work with digital technology and multimodality through a CAP lens for their mode of representing their research findings.
      • The bulk of the presentation will show samples of students’ CAP projects, which include video projects, video collages, and audio remixes, while discussing some of the benefits for the students of learning about and working from this orientation toward research, including a deeper understanding of their role of as a researcher, more work on reflexivity and exploration of subjectivities, more attention to the work of representation of the participant, and a new understanding of how modes of meaning impact the presentation of findings.

Takeaways For The Audience:

  • An introduction to a particular method of qualitative research (CAP) and ways that digital technology can be used with it.
  • Samples of course projects that allowed for multimodal digital CAP work, which produced unique presentations of the research findings as well as deeper student learning about qualitative methods.
  • Audience members who teach qualitative research as a part of their courses will have a glimpse of a new approach for coursework
  • Other audience members working in the humanities or social sciences might use this type of technology integration as a model and consider revising traditional assignments within their field to multimodal digital work. The presentation links conceptually to digital humanities, in which digital tools are used in the humanities as alternative modes of meaning making beyond written words, with the recognition that traditional print modes are no longer the exclusive or primary mode for knowledge production and distribution.

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