Markers, metaphors, and meaning: Drawings as a visual and creative qualitative research methodology in organizations

Sarah J. Tracy, Shawna Malvini Redden

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

4 Scopus citations


Visual methods including drawing have historically been neglected in organizational and management research, often dismissed as “trivial, constituting decoration, insubstantial rhetoric, illusion, or at best, partially reliable information” (Davison, McClean, & Warren, 2012, p. 6). However, the use of drawing is quite common in arts-based approaches (Leavy, 2009) and research with children (Backett-Milburn & McKie, 1999; Davis, 2013; Myers, Saunders, & Garret, 2003; Sewell, 2011; Tay-Lim & Lim, 2013). Visual methods are burgeoning across disciplines (Barnhurst, Vari, & Rodriquez, 2004; Guillemin, 2004; Pain, 2012; Singhal & Rattine-Flaherty, 2006), with increasing momentum in management and organizational studies (Meyer, 1991), and with arguments that the arts are critically important for developing complex aspects of the mind (Eisner, 2002). Specifically, visual methods prove to be particularly powerful tools for examining implicit assumptions (Schyns, Tymon, Kiefer, & Kerschreiter, 2013), exploring emotionally turbulent topics (Kearney & Siegman, 2004), and understanding organizational change (Barner, 2008; Vince & Broussine, 1996).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHandbook of Qualitative Organizational Research
Subtitle of host publicationInnovative Pathways and Methods
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9781317908784
ISBN (Print)9781848725096
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)
  • General Business, Management and Accounting


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