Ethical and practical issues in using visual methodologies: the legacy of research-originating visual products.
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Temple, M. & McVittie, C. (2005) Ethical and practical issues in using visual methodologies: the legacy of research-originating visual products., Qualitative Research in Psychology, vol. 2, , pp. 227-239,
Psychology to date has made use of visual methodologies primarily in well established and tested ways. The development and greater use of such methodologies has the potential to enrich psychological understanding of many aspects of human experience. This development however needs to be accompanied by awareness and discussion of ethical and practical issues surrounding such methodologies, particularly when visual items are produced in the course of conducting research. In order to explore these issues, we examine the understandings of professionals who regularly work with visual items, namely art therapists. The data came from semistructured interviews conducted with six art therapists. Participants experienced a lack of professional guidance relating to enduring visual products, viewed their roles in relation to these items as changing on the completion of the therapeutic process and commonly experienced a sense of loss on the destruction of visual products. Often participants looked to the enduring visual products themselves for resolution of the attendant ethical and practical dilemmas. Similar dilemmas, until and unless resolved, are likely to accompany any greater involvement of psychology with visual methodologies.