The Affordances and Challenges of Visual Methodologies in Literacy Studies

Authored by: Maureen Kendrick

The Routledge Handbook of Literacy Studies

Print publication date:  May  2015
Online publication date:  May  2015

Print ISBN: 9780415816243
eBook ISBN: 9781315717647
Adobe ISBN: 9781317510611


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In this chapter, I argue that the increasingly complex nature of literacy in the twenty-first century requires rethinking current literacy research methodologies. I make a case for using visual methodologies to gain access to the accretive layers of literacy practices in the everyday worlds of individuals, families and communities. I use visual examples taken from collaborative literacy as social practice research that brings together ethnographic methods with multimodality in a series of studies I have conducted in Uganda since 2003. Taken together, the vignettes demonstrate the potential of visual methodologies for accessing the emic in literacy studies in a range of contexts. The vignettes unravel some of the different constructs, issues and emerging questions associated with studying literacy in diverse community settings, opening broader dialogues on literacy that move beyond more traditional methods of data collection and analysis.

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