Conducting ethnographic research on language-like visual communication

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This paper provides guidance to academics, new researchers, and practicing designers or business people on how to conduct ethnographic research on visual communications that are language-like in that they contain forms linked to specific meanings. The paper adapts Spradley’s (1980) detailed steps for conducting ethnographic research to ethnography that is focused on visual communication. An argument is made that it is useful to employ linguistic frameworks in such research because the field of linguistics already has a well-developed theory base from which researchers can develop theory that is specific to visual communication.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRefereed Proceedings of the ANZCA Conference 2008
Subtitle of host publicationPower and Place
EditorsElspeth Tilley
Place of PublicationWellington
PublisherThe Australian and New Zealand Communication Association (ANZCA)
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 2008
EventAustralian and New Zealand Communication Association Conference: Power and Place - Wellington, New Zealand
Duration: 9 Jul 200811 Sept 2008


ConferenceAustralian and New Zealand Communication Association Conference
Abbreviated titleANZCA
Country/TerritoryNew Zealand
Internet address


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