Analyzing 21st Century Video Data on Situational Dynamics—Issues and Challenges in Video Data Analysis
2. Using Visuals to Analyze Situations
2.1. Situational Dynamics and Video Data
2.2. Advantages of Visual Data
2.3. Visual Data Analysis
3. Discussion: Key Issues and Challenges in Video Data Analysis
3.1. Step 1: Setting Up the Research
3.1.1. Formulating a Video Data Analysis Research Question
3.1.2. Identifying the Research Focus
3.1.3. Constructing Concepts
3.2. Step 2: Choosing Data Sources
3.2.2. Openness of Sources
3.2.3. Case Selection
3.3. Step 3: Assessing Data Validity
3.3.1. Neutral or Balanced Data Sources
3.3.2. Optimal Capture
3.3.3. Natural Behavior
3.3.4. Improving Validity through Triangulation
3.4. Step 4: Analyzing Data
3.4.1. Developing a Coding Scheme: Label Data and Distill Concepts
3.4.2. Assigning Codes: Code by Dimensions and Split Audio and Visual Information
3.4.3. Reconstructing Events
3.4.4. Looking for Patterns
3.4.5. Additional Analytic Tools
3.5. Step 5: Presentation of Video Data Analysis Findings
3.5.1. Transparency and Retraceability
3.5.2. Reflecting Research Ethics
Conflicts of Interest
Setting up the research
|Formulating a Research Question||Are situational dynamics expected to play an important role in explaining the phenomenon under study?|
Are key aspects of research question observable in visual data? Will visual data be able to answer my research question?
Does my research question focus on actions, interactions, behavior, emotion expression, or other aspects of situational dynamics?
|Identifying research focus||Which analytic dimensions are relevant to the research?|
Do all interactions by all actors need to be coded, or only specific actions or specific actors? Are facial expressions relevant or body postures as well?
How broad or fine-grained does the level of analysis need to be?
|Constructing concepts||Can I form or use transparent concepts (inductive, deductive, or abductive approach)?|
Do the dimensions capture what the concepts seek to describe? Do the respective indicators allow direct coding of data?
How are the levels within a concept connected?
Choosing data sources
|Feasibility||How time-consuming will data access be?|
Are permission and informed consent required to collect/use the data?
How foreseeable and frequent is the situation or event?
|Openness||How important is it to make the primary data available to other researchers during the research process or to readers later on?|
What ethical and legal considerations might arise when sharing data?
|Case selection||Are more cases available than can be analyzed given the constraints of the research at hand?|
Are less cases available than needed for the research question at hand?
Assessing data validity
|Neutral or balanced data sources||Who recorded a data piece and what was this person’s or organization’s role in the event? Does that role suggest an unbiased recording of the event?|
Is it possible to include data from different stakeholders in order to hedge against potential bias?
|Optimal capture||Does the data piece or patchwork of data capture all relevant aspects of the situation or event, or is additional contextual information needed? Did the relevant interaction begin after the recording began? Is every second of a relevant situation, every participant, all space, and every relevant channel covered?|
Are there any out-of-frame interactions or frame-to-out-of-frame interactions?
Do the solution, zoom, and angle allow analyzing the dimensions necessary to answer the research question?
|Natural behavior||Is there information about actors’ reactivity; e.g., by reflecting on the type of event, by actors’ recorded behavior, by analyzing document data?|
Where actors able to see the camera?
Was their behavior too routine or too important to be adapted to camera presence and if so, does this impact the analysis?
Could single actors, a group of actors, or the entire situation or event be scripted and, if so, how does this affect the analysis?
|Improving validity through triangulating types, sources, or pieces of data||Does the data set show a lack of neutral or balance data sources? What types of data sources should a data set contain in order to avoid bias?|
Does the data set show sub-optimal capture? Is it possible to use multiple data pieces depicting the same situations to compensate for deficiencies of single data pieces?
Does the data set show a lack of information regarding that it cannot be compensated by visual data? Could other data sources be used to combine their respective strengths? Is it possible to use data pieces from different types of data to cross-validate findings?
|Develop a coding scheme||Inductive: Does a coding scheme already exist in the literature that seems useful for coding? Does it make sense to apply all the categories in that scheme to all actors, or just part of them? Is the coding scheme transparent and detailed?|
Deductive: Is it useful to develop a coding scheme from the data? Which elements need to be captured? Can I assign labels to the data and then form overarching categories for these labels? Can these categories and dimensions later be translated into concepts?
|Assign codes||Does it make sense to split coding into multiple iterations to reduce complexity for each criterion?|
If the audio track is available: How does it relate to the visual? Can additional information be gained by listening only to the sound without video and then only watching the video without sound?
Does it make sense to use software for coding both visual and document data (e.g., Atlas.ti)? Does it make sense to use software that detects facial expressions or recognizes faces in visual data (e.g., Noldus Observer)?
|Reconstruct events||Does the case reconstruction based on the coded data provide a seamless account of each situation or event from start to finish, covering all relevant aspects?|
What information can I gather on the social or physical context of the event or process under study?
How can I gather a processual reconstruction of the process or event under study? Can I identify a situational syntax by producing a matrix of time and actors or sub-events?
|Looking for patterns||Can I identify patterns in situational dynamics that can help explain the process or outcome? Did a situational path led (through one or several chains of causally linked actions and stages) from the start of the situation to the occurrence, or absence, of the outcome under study? Are there clear patterns of association between the explanatory factors and the outcome, and do these patterns apply to all or specific subsets of cases?|
Identifying smoking guns: What caused shifts in situational dynamics, and how does a given key moment impact the subsequent development of a situation?
Turning points: Are there pronounced changes in relevant analytic dimensions during a situation or event? Are there pivotal moments in which the direction of the situational flow changes drastically?
Space: Is a focus on space useful to identify patterns in the data? Are special means required to locate interactions in space? Are physical properties of space relevant to the situation or event?
Actors: Is a focus on actors useful to identify patterns in the data? How does the situation unfold from the perspective of key actors?
Additional Tools: Are additional analytic procedures useful to identify systematic links between explanatory factors and the outcome of interest?
Presentation of Findings
|Transparency and Retraceability||Is a transparent presentation of the data and findings possible to ensure reliability? How important is transparency to a researcher?|
Which advantages or disadvantages do different data sources imply the ability to share the findings?
How can I make analytic methods, and analytic procedures transparent so that other researchers can evaluate or possible reproduce the analysis?
|Ethical Issues||Do ethical considerations apply? Were study subjects able to give consent to a study? Was the video captured at a public or private event? e.g., does reprinting stills of the video violate privacy rights? Does posting links to analyzed raw data online pose potential harm to study subjects?|
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Not least because they may foster sample bias in online video studies, uploading practices are an interesting aspect for future research.
There are excellent guidebooks for how to develop concepts and coding schemes from the data, and how to use them to code data (e.g., Strauss and Corbin 1998). The methodological principles when using video data do not differ substantially from other data formats.
As a general note, it may be fruitful to examine video data for patterns by switching between normal and double video run speed. The faster run speed can help pulling back from single actions and reactions to get a view of the flow of a situation.
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Nassauer, A.; Legewie, N.M. Analyzing 21st Century Video Data on Situational Dynamics—Issues and Challenges in Video Data Analysis. Soc. Sci. 2019, 8, 100. https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8030100
Nassauer A, Legewie NM. Analyzing 21st Century Video Data on Situational Dynamics—Issues and Challenges in Video Data Analysis. Social Sciences. 2019; 8(3):100. https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8030100Chicago/Turabian Style
Nassauer, Anne, and Nicolas M. Legewie. 2019. "Analyzing 21st Century Video Data on Situational Dynamics—Issues and Challenges in Video Data Analysis" Social Sciences 8, no. 3: 100. https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8030100