Analysing Web Images

Pritchard, Katrina and Whiting, Rebecca (2017). Analysing Web Images. In: Cassell, Catherine; Cunliffe, Ann and Grandy, Gina eds. The SAGE Handbook of Qualitative Business and Management Research Methods. SAGE.

Abstract

The visual is fundamental to internet experience which itself is an almost unavoidable feature of our lives as workers, consumers, family members, and as researchers. However, despite the recent interest in the visual in business and management research, web images have yet to become a key focus of analysis. This chapter discusses different forms of image found on the internet and explores ways in which these might be analysed.

Imagine for a moment the internet without images. Then consider your own organizational website or one relating to an organization you are researching; look at its coverage in the news or how it promotes its products online. It is likely you may even find more images than text. We suggest that these web images offer potential insights into a wide range contemporary of work-related debates of interest to business and management researchers. Such insights might inform understandings of particular organizational processes or, as in our own research exploring constructions of age and ageing at work, inform an understanding of the internet as a critical communicative context for organizing, organizations and those working in them.

In this chapter we examine the potential of these data for informing research and consider key questions to pose when setting out on such a research project. Given the variety and potential of web images we first provide an overview of these data before exploring a specific example in depth to offer further methodological examination.

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