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This paper provides guidance to academics, new researchers, and practicing designers or business people on how to conduct ethnographic research on visual communications that are language-like in that they contain forms linked to specific meanings. The paper adapts Spradley’s (1980) detailed steps for conducting ethnographic research to ethnography that is focused on visual communication. An argument is made that it is useful to employ linguistic frameworks in such research because the field of linguistics already has a well-developed theory base from which researchers can develop theory that is specific to visual communication.
This document has been peer reviewed.