Research Phase

An overview visual documentation on PDF of Nurul Rahman’s PhD processes / methodologies :


Collection of Malaysian popular ephemeral print imagery.
The collections are gathered from three different case studies – WANITA (women magazine’s cover), LAT’s Cartoon (collective images from Malaysian most influential cartoonist) and ADDS (advertisements collected from national leading newspapers and magazines).

I have started to explore the print mediums collections since mid-December, approximately after my review to the new panel of my supervision.
The aim of this exploration is 1) to find a way to organize and analyze the images, 2) is to explore mediums and methods to communicate the discoveries and make it visible to others. In the process to explore the images, I break down the process in three stages.

Where is the collections gathered from, and how to organize this information? Consist mainly process of editing (i.e. cropping, repositioning, image quality editing, etc.) and organizing the sources, details and original publications of the images. The arrangements in categorizing the images are based on the online discussion forum findings that were conducted in the early stage of my PhD, March 2007. The result of the online discussions prompts seven main themes on how the participants (Malaysian) imagined their notion of Malaysian identity. I also include some sub-themes to bring some details in the process analyzing.

The analyzing process is divided into period of five decades arranging from 1957 -2007 (1957-1966, 1967-1976, 1977-1986, 1987-1996, 1997-2007) and divided to three different case studies. This process examine the first stage of analyzing the imagery, similar process to questionnaire or survey, the only different in this process is there are no questions written, but only themes as specified by the themes from the online discussion forum and the additional sub-themes. It is as simple as whether the themes appeared in each decade, in between or did not. In this process, I use panel and boxes to map the content, and if there is existence in one decades that fall on the themes, I just tick Yes or No. Therefore what I have at the end of this process the answer and some insight details that I am able to use for the next stage.

The discoveries from Stage I have assisted and facilitated the action taken to filter the contents in the images through Stage II. The main discovery is different approach will be taken using different methods of presenting the contents/argument in each case study. The details of the discoveries are still sketchy. I will be able to produce some sort of mapping, graphs or some sort of visual to show the findings in simplistic way.

What are the details of the content in the popular print media that I need to explore and use in my research? The second process is focusing on filtering the details contents and questions if there are icons in any forms (i.e. shapes, logo, illustration, picture, brand, cultural product, etc) appeared through each decades. It involved the process of moving, cutting and reposition the contents of the layout, and breaking-up the contents in different categories. Each case study is explored differently because of the point/argument/stories it constructs. At the moment, I am working on the IKLAN case study. I am in the attempt of presenting the findings from the collections of advertisements through sets of time line for each decade. WANITA and LAT’s cartoon case studies will have another kind of approach. The questions aim to be answered in this process are:

1. Is there any trends appear in each decade, and if so what are the trends?
2. Is there any specific kind of styles (i.e. fashion, layout, ambiance) that appear in each decades, and does it been repeated?
3. Is there any specific icons (i.e. shape, images, tag line, symbols, figures, font styles) that are visible in those years?

Stage III
How to communicate the discoveries/findings in a piece or a set of graphic design forms? This process will include designing the creative piece (i.e. poster, book, etc.) and constructing the structure of the exegesis. Further details of the process will be updated.

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