Interpreting Rich Pictures using Content Analysis (example row)

Janet Smith, Heriotwatt University
Emma Heather Bonnet, Loughborough University
Sondra Hero, Heriotwatt University


Rich pictures have roots in soft systems and are widely used by practitioners to understand complex problems from many stakeholder viewpoints. This study uses rich pictures as a tool for collaborative drawing to explore international student experience in Scotland. Historically rich pictures are difficult to interpret and are often used to gain a holistic understanding of a system of concern and thus are disregarded in terms of providing in-depth qualitative data. We will explore the use of inter-coder content analysis to gain a deep understanding of group thinking. In the context of this study, using content analysis, our findings revealed a detailed understanding of Scottish culture and traditions from the perspective of international students. We determine that visuals have a vast capacity to communicate, irrespective of possible language, culture and education barriers, and thus offer unique insight into a complex system of stakeholder understanding.