Letting a picture speak a thousand words: arts-based research in a study of the careers of female academics

Author Identifier

Fleur Sharafizad
ORCID: 0000-0002-2495-4381

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

Sociological Methods & Research




School of Business & Law


Sharafizad, F., Brown, K., Jogulu, U., & Omari, M. (2020, May 28). Letting a picture speak a thousand words: Arts-based research in a study of the careers of female academics. Sociological Methods and Research. DOI: 10.1177/0049124120926206


This article presents an adaptation of an arts-based research method usually reserved for child-focused research to examine organizational processes. We developed Draw, Write, Reflect (DWR), advancing a known method, Draw and Write, for investigating phenomena relating to child participants, to explore a new context: adults engaging in academic careers. This article reports on the rationale behind the novel use of this research method, outlines a DWR procedure for future research, and contains reflections of both the researchers and the respondents regarding their experiences participating in DWR. Offering participants a combination of visual and oral methods allowed the researchers to obtain data in a more individualized approach steered by participants’ preferences. The multidimensional insights obtained through DWR would not have been attainable through each method on its own. Furthermore, we argue arts-based research can serve as a vehicle for disseminating academic work beyond conventional academe to a growing, nonacademic audience.