n South African Journal of Higher Education - The usefulness of reflexive photography for qualitative research : a case study in higher education

Volume 21, Issue 5
  • ISSN : 1011-3487



This study explores the usefulness of reflexive photography for qualitative research in the human and social sciences. The investigation was done in the context of how male academics construct their world in a university during transformation. A group of white, male academics in the human sciences were provided with a camera and were requested to take pictures of the most meaningful aspects of their work environment. Thereafter photo-elicitation interviews were conducted, transcribed and analysed. The study illustrates the usefulness of reflexive photography to determine human interpretation of interaction with the environment. Participants commented positively on and helped to identify the advantages and limitations of the technique. The research indicated that photographs have no intrinsic meaning but serve as of meaning that participants explain during interviews. Content analysis, a second level of analysis that is based on the first level, is useful in some ways as indicated.

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