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What's in a Line? Exploration of a research and reflection tool

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This exploratory study investigated the potential of non-verbal modes of expression-in particular, line drawing-as a research tool for eliciting the personal perspectives of teachers' professional development and as a tool for reflection in teacher education. Participants were asked to draw freely a line or lines of any length and shape that they know to constitute significant 'felt experiences'. Each participant also wrote a brief paragraph explaining the significance of the graphic representation. Using grounded theory procedures, recurring themes, passages and particular events that emerged from the teachers' graphic and verbal representations were analyzed and interpreted. The study sheds light on the potential of visual representation techniques for elucidating tacit aspects of a person's personal and professional development, and as a unique source of data that can be used at the collection, analysis, and representation stages of conducting qualitative research. In particular, its application seems especially relevant for research agendas that focus on participants' perceptions of complex, dynamic and personally 'charged' experiences, such as the recall and interpretation of their professional development.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Faculty of Education, University of Haifa, Israel

Publication date: 2000-06-01

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