On the use of video in journal publications.

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    The increased use of video in data collection in discourse analytic studies has led to some interesting issues in the publication of discourse analytic research in journals. Of course, we all use transcripts and the complex issues in transcription are well known and discussed (which is not to suggest that there are not still important issues to discuss about transcription). The use of video in such studies has led to questions about providing access to video data for readers of journal articles. In some cases, journals have web pages and can make video data available there; in other cases, researchers can provide a url so that readers can access the video data on the researcher’s web page. Mostly, access to the videos is intended to provide illustrations of the issues and interpretations that the researchers are making. However, once a video is made public, it is open to interpretations and uses beyond those of illustrating an author’s argument. There are many ethical issues that need to be considered. Here, I want to focus on issues of interpretation (which might also be considered an ethical issue). How much of the social, cultural, political, institutional, and historical context (what some call the ethnographic context) does a reader need to have to engage in an interpretation of a video clip provided to supplement a journal article (or a book)? Whose obligation is it to call for the provision of a sufficient ethnographic context (assuming that one could determine what “sufficient” means)? Authors? Editors? Readers? Participants in the study? IRBs? Does the added value of having the video to examine (assuming there is an added value) justify the risk not only of misinterpretations but of interpretations that are harmful to participants?

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