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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 64103 Find in a Library
Title: DO PHOTOGRAPHS TELL THE TRUTH? (FROM QUALITATIVE AND QUANTITATIVE METHODS IN EVALUATION RESEARCH, 1979, BY THOMAS D COOK AND CHARLES S REICHARDT - SEE NCJ-64098)
Author(s): H S BECKER
Corporate Author: Sage Publications, Inc
United States of America
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 19
Sponsoring Agency: Sage Publications, Inc
Thousand Oaks, CA 91320
Type: Best Practice/State-of-the-Art Review
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: THIS DISCUSSION ON THE INTERPRETATION OF PHOTOGRAPHS ARGUES THAT SUCH INTERPRETATION REQUIRES A FRAMEWORK OF EITHER CONFIRMATION OR DISCONFIRMATION IN DECIDING WHICH INTERPRETATIONS ARE WARRANTED.
Abstract: A FIRST CLARIFICATION NECESSITATES BYPASSING THE QUESTION 'IS IT TRUE?' AND ASKING INSTEAD 'WHAT IS THIS PHOTOGRAPH TELLING THE TRUTH ABOUT?' ONE ALSO NEEDS TO KNOW WHAT QUESTIONS THE PHOTOGRAPH MIGHT BE ANSWERING, AS WELL AS QUESTIONS THE PHOTOGRAPHER DID NOT HAVE IN MIND OR ARE NOT SUGGESTED BY THE PICTURE. THE MOST OBVIOUS QUESTIONS THAT PHOTOGRAPHS ANSWER ARE THE MOST SPECIFIC. HOWEVER, PHOTOGRAPHIC WORK MAY ALSO ANSWER GENERAL QUESTIONS ABOUT SOCIAL ARRANGEMENTS OR PROCESSES; CHARACTERIZE THE WAY OF LIFE OF SOME SOCIAL STRATUM, OCCUPATIONAL GROUP, OR SOCIAL AREA; AND VERIFY THAT CERTAIN PHENOMENA HAVE ACTUALLY OCCURRED OR EXISTED. THE FIRST STEP IN DECIDING WHETHER PICTURES TELL THE TRUTH, THEREFORE, IS TO DECIDE WHAT TRUTH THEY ASSERT, OR CAN BE MADE TO ASSERT. ONCE THAT IS KNOWN ONE CAN ASK, IS THE ASSERTION TRUE? KEEPING IN MIND THE QUALIFICATIONS THAT THE TRUTH NEED NOT BE THE WHOLE TRUTH, WIL ORDINARILY NOT BE VERIFIED BY A SINGLE PHOTOGRAPHIC IMAGE, IS PARTIAL AND THEREFORE FALLIBLE, AND IS NOT ALWAYS ACCEPTABLE FOR ALL SOCIAL GROUPS, ONE CAN UTILIZE CAMPBELL'S IDEA OF THREATS TO THE VALIDITY OF A PROPOSITION TO SEE WHETHER THE ASSERTION IS TRUE. SOME POSSIBLE THREATS MIGHT INCLUDE REARRANGEMENT OR FAKING OF PHOTOGRAPHIC EVIDENCE; SELECTION BASED ON ARTISTIC STANDARDS; INADEQUATE SAMPLING OF EVENTS; THE PHOTOGRAPHER'S THEORY, PROHIBITION, OR CENSORSHIP OF THE WORK; AND THE PHOTOGRAPHER'S SELECTION PROCESS. CONTINUED INVESTIGATION OF WORKS THAT CONVINCE AND SUCCEED IN OVERCOMING DOUBT REQUIRES LEARNING AND GENERALIZING FROM EXPERIENCES IN BOTH SOCIAL SCIENCE AND PHOTOGRAPHY. REFERENCES ARE INCLUDED. (AOP)
Index Term(s): Evaluation; Evaluation of evaluation; Evaluation techniques; Evaluative research; Photography
Note: REPRINTED FROM AFTERIMAGE, FEBRUARY 1978, P 9-13
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=64103

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