Misconnotations

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The following image outline the Qualitative research process:

http://educationalvignettes.files.wordpress.com/2011/08/qual-process.png

I believe the image sets up several misconnotations. First, the shapes. The arrow itself does a good job of connotating a process. However the different colored rectangular boxes are confusing at first because they seem to connotate a relationship between the boxes that is not clear. Ultimately, the purpose of the boxes simply seems to be to make each step stand out, which makes boxes unnecessary as a simple listing of the each step would have served the same purpose. Additionally, the boxes make it appear that each step is completed one at a time, when in reality they are likely to overlap.

Further more, the author seems to be trying to make the "general literature understanding throughout" a step. This is inferred because it too is a rectangular box. However, to have something be "throughout" is not a step, but a continuous process. So this connotation is misleading. Also, if one is to have a general literature understanding, should not the collection or reading of that literature be a step in itself?

The connotation of color works well in this image, though the connection may be overlooked by those who aren't familiar with qualitative research. Green is used to connect the research question to the findings, and red is used to connect literature understanding with theoretical work. However, I think the relationship between these areas could have been made clearer by lines or another technique than color. I'm also not clear why the author feels only those sections relate and only to each other. Your research question will influence your site selection and participants, which will influence that data you collect, and so on through the process.

All in all, I think this is a poorly done visual that looks interesting but fails to successfully portray connections and relationships between the steps and throughout the process (though it does try). I think this might also be a good example of anatomy and function. The images does well in showing what qualitative research looks like (various steps) but fails to show it functions (the relationships between steps).

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Comments

Shapes

You're right in that the rectangular shapes fail to establish any sort of relationship. Would it make more sense to include arrows between the steps rather than as a watermark figure? The box at the bottom, acting as the title of the illustration - "general literature understanding throughout" - would be more effective at the top of the figure, where most people expect to read a title. Also, the color of the boxes does more than harm than good, like you said.

Agree

I agree, having arrows between the boxes would establish more of a relationship. And that box at the bottom is very problimatic. You assumed it was title. I assumed it was just a step. It should be included inside the encompassing arrow to make its relationship more clear (assuming it is not a title), and a title should be added to avoid confusing. I know it's the steps of qualitative research because I recognize them, but someone else may not know, thus a title is needed.

Shapes and Colors

Very effective use of both the shaping in the chart (with the use of the arrow and rectangle), as well as a great use of coloring for the different points/thoughts.