Describing Images: A Case Study of Visual Literacy and Information Science Students

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Describing Images: A Case Study of Visual Literacy and Information Science Students by Joan E. Beaudoin

This paper reports on a study that examined the development of pedagogical methods for increasing the visual literacy skills of a group of library and information science students. Through a series of three assignments, students were asked to provide descriptive information for a set of historical photographs and record reflections on their experiences via blog posts. The three separate versions of the image descriptions submitted by the students were analyzed to discern changes using descriptive statistics, and their blog posts were examined to identify recurrent themes using the constant comparative method. Findings associated with the image descriptions indicate that students’ skill in describing the photographs show a modest increase across the three versions. Analysis of the blog postings revealed an overarching theme of frustration associated with the experience of developing image descriptions among the students. The underlying reasons for their frustrations are examined, and suggestions are provided for further increasing students’ abilities to describe images.

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