Expected usage and perceived usage, photography as a methodological tool: the case of a learning centre in France

Isabelle Fabre, Cécile Gardiès


Photography beyond simple proof, became full research material (Bateson & Mead, 1942). It remains less investigated as a methodology in information and Communication Science (SIC) and particularly for the study of library use. However, the photography is a method of gathering information on the lived space that involves elements that tend to complicate the analysis. Therefore we can ask if photography is a medium, in the sense of support, of scientific data collection (Tardy, 2007), if it allows us to account, to signify the semiotic meaning (Barthes, 1980), of the actors expression. Our paper proposes to think on this methodological tool for data collection. It is based on a study of the "learnings centers" in France. This study analyzes the use of these new models of libraries in connection with the enounciation proposed by theses devices as a "work of reconciliation and confrontation of saying pictures" (Bonaccorsi, 2013). A focus on the occupation of spaces and movement of professionals and users will realize the trace of uses and intentions. The collected data furnish "a space waiting for configuration of the pictures by researcher [...] ephemeral support work and always in change [...] that offer an instrument for reflexivity [...] by linking meaningful shapes to practice who gives them status and quality" (Bonaccorsi, 2013). Face to methodological difficulties in use observation, photography can indeed be a means of investigation that serves two objectives - one on the variety of tools for collecting traces and another on taking into account different representations. The sensitive approach to qualitative methods that we specify gradually, built the empirical receptivity of the researcher involved in the process of "significance" (Leleu - Merviel, 2008).


Keywords: Photography – Documentary Space - Use - Learning Centre - Qualitative Method



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.