Gathering the Data
To find the data...
My group members and I turned to some of our closest friends for the data. Personally, I sent out a message in a group chat to get responses from my friends. Everyone I asked for an image is in the same lecture as I am, so they understood exactly what I was looking for. They also understood what I would be using the photo for, so I never acted unethically in showing their pictures to my group members or classmates. In making the videos, I sent the final product to each individual before turning it in. Though in journalism, this kind of pre-publication would be unethical, I felt that it was necessary for this project to ensure the contributors knew exactly what I would be sharing from their own personal experiences.
To code the data...
Although I talked about this slightly in the introductory page, I didn't go into much detail.
While categorizing our data, one of the first things we noticed was that a lot of our photos were taken outdoors. For this reason, our first category focused specifically on nature. Our options mainly revolved around mountain or ocean scenery, but we also included an "other" category with general attributes such as "sky" or "trees".
Another category we added while looking at the location of the photos was landmarks. A lot of our pictures came from vacations, so we felt it was important to include it in our research.
To observe the people in the photo themselves, we looked mainly at how many people were present, what their relationship was to each other, what they were doing and what they were likely feeling. This category was the hardest to accurately collect data on because we relied on assumptions to tell us what they were doing and how they were feeling. We also couldn't understand the importance behind a photo, regardless of it was of a single person or of a couple, so collecting data on the people within it wasn't very productive.
Aside from that, we also coded the data using categories such as "color" to visually separate the images.
One struggle we faced...
Some of our group members had to leave early for class, so we didn't have time to work together on the coding process at all. Still, for the most part, we ended up with the same general taxonomies.
You can find our final taxonomy here.
I'm using this platform because...
I chose to turn my final assignment in using this website because I felt it could most comprehensively explain the images, the data collected from them and the underlying stories within them. I feel that this website is able to communicate in an organized and effective way.
The videos I created as my visual supplement are easy for the audience to engage themselves in and give the much-needed context to the data we collected. Observing both the data and the videos side by side really embodies the theme "Making Memories."
From this data project...
I learned that our implicit biases can deeply impact the data we collect. When we talked about our personal taxonomies, the differences we observed said a lot about our personal differences. For example, some of us were more descriptive than others. To one person, "red" might be "fuchsia pink." Our differences were also apparent simply when choosing what categories to include. While a few group members focused purely on the aesthetics, others focused in on the people in the photo and how they interacted with either others in the photo or the person we received it from.
One other thing that I learned is that I'm still not a fan of group projects. While some of my group was pretty good, it didn't seem that anyone wanted to spend much time on this project. It also seemed that it was more of a hassle to be dealt with then a project to learn from to some of them, which made it more difficult for us all to take anything away from it.
The "Making Memories" theme that my group studied for this project applies to every corner of my life. Specifically, this project reminds me of how the things we post to social media can too often be taken out of context. If I post a photo on Instagram, it's easy for my audience to draw their own conclusions but it's difficult for them to understand what importance the photo had to me. In the same way, when we observed the photos given to us by our peers, we had no way of knowing what they wanted to tell us with their images. The only way to find that out wasn't categorizing and analyzing their images ourselves, it was by reaching out and asking them for more input.