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Introduction to Interpretive Videoanalysis of Social Situations

Hubert Knoblauch, René Tuma and Bernt Schnettler

This book provides an overview of the current state of video analysis, including the most recent developments in this rapidly growing field. It covers various methodological approaches. The authors address practical and technical questions and potential problems arising during the research process. The book also offers a perspective on the theoretical embedding of videography in the interpretive approaches to social research. It comes equipped with detailed, user-friendly aids, including suggestions for further reading, technical pointers, and case studies. The book will be particularly useful for social researchers interested in the collection and analysis of video data on natural interactions and in sociological ethnography.
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3 Methodological Foundations: Specific Features and Types of Audiovisual Data

Data Types


3Methodological Foundations: Specific Features and Types of Audiovisual Data15

In the following chapter we explain several fundamental characteristics of video data that are especially important for video analysis. Video data differ from other data types and open up specific opportunities for analysis, but they also present researchers with still-unsolved methodological problems. The various kinds of audiovisual materials are discussed with respect to their features, and their individual dimensions are explained with reference to methods of analysis.

Audiovisual data are of outstanding value for social research, because they, like no other recording medium, offer observers and interpreters an incomparable wealth of perceptual aspects. Video recordings, therefore, represent an especially interesting data type for sociology and other social sciences. They enable us to retain visually graspable processes in mimetic form. In addition to the role of language, gestures, facial expressions, posture, and body formations, video recordings also allow us to grasp the role played in interaction analysis by accessories, clothing, speech style, and sounds, as well as setting and social ecology. With video, these elements can be observed synchronically, in their simultaneous interplay, as well as diachronically, over a period of time.

These advantages are extremely valuable for studying interaction in its context, and their range even extends beyond that. For example, expressions of certain lifestyle systems and cultural worlds can be captured within their natural context. Thereby, video permits a far more adecuate, less manipulated look at everyday life than is possible with other tools...

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