Online Opportunities for Mobile and Visual Research

Online Opportunities for Mobile and Visual Research

Lesley Murray (University of Brighton, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-0074-4.ch016
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The recent surge in interest in both mobile and visual methodologies reflects an increasing awareness of mobility and visualization in shaping our social worlds. The ‘mobilities turn’ in social science draws attention to the significance of a range of mobilities, from everyday to global. In tandem, visualization of virtual and lived spatial and social contexts is increasingly central to daily life and wider social processes. Both mobile and visual methods have evolved to reflect the epistemological changes that accompany these realizations, leading to a mobility of method as approaches draw from a range of disciplines. Online resources present particular opportunities for the expansion of these methods. For example, video methods can be adapted for online use in collecting visual data; this data can then be disseminated in video form through the Internet. However, this interrelationship between online, mobile, and visual methods has not been fully explored. This chapter explores the ways in which these methods can be combined to create knowledge in a unique way. It assesses the efficacy of these methodologies and methods by reviewing existing research and draws out key themes for analysis and further development.
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There is a vast array of research tools available to the mobile researcher, and the complexity of the social world often necessitates a multi-pronged approach that mixes a number of methods (e.g., Freudendal-Pedersen et al., 2010). As discussed, the virtual realm is an important aspect of this complex social world, particularly in urban contexts. In order to explore virtual spaces, we need online tools. The recent surge in interest in the field of mobile methodologies and methods (Fincham, McGuinness, & Murray, 2010; Büscher, Urry, & Witchger, 2010; Adey, 2010), has not yet fully embraced this notion. This chapter therefore seeks to explore the capacity both to continue the development of online and mobile methods, and to examine nuanced ways of integrating them. There are already clear intersections, as online methods inhabit a virtual and inherently mobile realm. Online methods are already on the move.

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