How Can Customized IT System Support Qualitative Methods in Website Validation: Application for Visual Content Analysis

Josipa Selthofer, Tomislav Jakopec

Abstract


Data gathering phase of qualitative research method in visual communication studies on website is extremely complex and time consuming. At the same time researcher should have a visual access to the web page that is being reviewed and a possibility to quantify data for given attributes. Multiple screens or split windows are possible practical solutions at hand. Although there are tools for managing data in quantitative research, none of them is suitable for visual content analysis of websites. The aim of this paper is to present a customized system providing IT support in the process of quantitative data gathering.

Main research question: How can customized IT support system enhance data integrity and reduce total research time, especially in data gathering phase? The form of the proposed IT support is a web application built using agile software development method on LAMP stack and is available online. For the specific research project the application offers three main sections: a list of websites to evaluate, a visual representation of loaded website and a list of attributes grouped by categories for quantifying the data. Proposed customized IT tool allows data export to widely accepted MS Excel format for further data analysis. Main conclusions of the research are that the use of customized IT support in visual content analysis reduces time necessary for data gathering and increases data credibility.

 

Keywords: customized web application, qualitative research, website validation, visual content analysis

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