Author(s): Clark J
Abstract: This paper considers the use of diamond ranking activities as a visual methods research tool in the context of two research projects. Diamond ranking is traditionally a recognised thinking skills tool (Rockett and Percival 2002) praised for eliciting construct generation and for facilitating talk around a specific topic. Its strength is in the idea that when we rank items, either statements, objects or images, we are required to make explicit the over-arching relationships by which we organise knowledge, thus making our perceptions available for scrutiny and comparison. In this paper we will argue that this pedagogical tool can be equally effective when used for the purposes of research. Our activities involved nine photographs, reproduced on two sheets of A4 paper in colour or black and white. Participants, working in pairs or threesomes, cut out these pictures and stuck them onto a piece of A3 paper in a diamond shape, ranking them by position so that the preferred picture is at the top and the most disliked one at the bottom. Participants were also encouraged to annotate their diamond with comments and explanations. This activity was completed in two projects – a consultation exercise undertaken in a school which is going to be rebuilt under the BSF programme and secondly in two schools as part of an evaluation of a Positive Psychology programme. In the paper we will explore the use of the diamond ranking activity as less of an assessment or measuring tool but perhaps more of an interactive, visual activity.