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Visual Methods in Social Research

Visual Methods in Social Research

Second Edition

May 2015 | 208 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
The Second Edition of this popular text confirms the book’s status as an important forerunner in the field of visual methods.

Combining the theoretical, practical and technical the authors discuss changing technologies, the role of the internet and the impact of social media. Presenting an interdisciplinary guide to visual methods they explore both the creation and interpretation of visual images and their use within different methodological approaches.

This clear, articulate book is full of practical tips on publishing and presenting the results of visual research and how to use film and photographic archives.

This book will be an indispensable guide for anyone using or creating visual images in their research.
The trouble with pictures

An introductory example

Unnatural vision

Reading narratives

Formal readings

Planning a research project with visual methods

On Television

Visual forms produced I: representations of society

Interpreting Forest of Bliss

Still and moving images

Visual forms produced II: representations of knowledge



Diagrams of Nuer lineages

Visual forms encountered

Encountering 'indigenous' media

The image as evidence

'Us' and 'them'?

Object and representation

The materiality of visual forms

Displaying family photographs

Exchanged goods

Market exchange

Size matters

Transformations: digitisation and computer-based media

Digital manipulation

Digital pornography: constraining the virtual

Digital pornography: exchange and circulation

Silk thread to plastic bags

Researching image use and production in social contexts

Watching television

Soap opera in India and Egypt

Television as social presence

Doing things with photographs and films

Photo-elicitation with archival images

Photo-elicitation with contemporary images

Learning from photo-elicitation


Working with archival material

Photographic archives and picture libraries

Film archives


Creating images for research


A ladder climbed then discarded

Documentary exploration

Documentary control

Collaborative projects

Indigenous media collaborations

Collaborative after effects

Ethics and visual research

Ethical review


Returning images


Presenting photographs

The photographic essay

Presenting ethnographic and other films

Study guides and other contextualisation

Databases and digital images

Can computer see?

Multimedia projects

Interacting with Yanomamo


The state of visual research

The place of visual research

The nature of visual research


This is a really interesting and practical book for students interested in conducting visual research methods. It is also very accessible to students who are new to research.

Dr Cristina Costa
Department of Education, University of The West of England
November 15, 2018

Visual Methodologies by Gillian Rose is one of the best introductions to the field of visual analysis. It provides a good overview of different methods and methodological approaches, while also critically assessing them from the author's own standpoint. The fourth edition is again expanded by many chapters and I think it is wonderful to see how the author further develops her theoretical approach towards the visual. The clear language and the many examples provided throughout the book make it a wonderful and interesting read, not only for those interested in researching the visual.

Ms Dorothea Born
Science and Technology Studies, University of Vienna
February 4, 2017

Not suitable to curriculum.

Professor Ewald Mittelstaedt
Engineering and Business Managment, South Westphalia University of Applied Sciences
November 26, 2016

The front cover for this book is really apt and really makes you want to engage further. Likewise within the text the pictures provide really good links to the text. This book is really useful as I am trying to encourage students to use more creative approaches in their dissertation methodology.

Mrs Claire Kathryn Pescott
Early Years and Education, University of South Wales (Glamorgan)
September 16, 2016

This is a very good book which I shall be recommending to students who wish to undertake visual research, however it is not so useful for students whose main task is a literature review of research.

Miss Suzanne Dawn Spooner
Cardiff School Of Health Sciences, Cardiff Metropolitan University
September 13, 2016

This text provides a valuable overview of visual methods, which translates effectively to educational contexts. The foundation of visual methods within anthropology is clear and concise, without narrowing the field too greatly. The range of examples of visual methods also facilitates opportunities for students to engage with visual methods as a robust and comprehensive method for research.

Ms Lorraine Anne Loveland-Armour
Department of Education, Newman University
July 13, 2016

Excellent book in a growing area of interest

Mrs denise Burke Mac Giolla Ri
Humanities , AIT Athlone Institute of Technology
July 3, 2016

Informative text which encourages students to broaden their thinking

Mrs Catherine Frances Delves-Yates
School of Nursing & Midwifery, University of East Anglia
June 24, 2016

I enjoyed reading the first edition, and it provided some interesting insights into the processes involved with visual methods in social research. This book provides a great commentary, which will aid students in facilitating visual method research.

Dr Michael Richards
Applied Health and Social Care , Edge Hill University
June 14, 2016

This is a particularly useful text as it is interdisciplinary. More important than that is the fact that it addresses a gap in visual analysis/research design by including indigenous examples. As we are based in Africa this is very useful for our students and often an oversight of other, similar books. Also, considering the glocal emphasis on postcolonialism and the decolonisation of curricula, it is indeed most relevant.

Professor Beschara Karam
Department of Communicatin Science, University of South Africa
June 10, 2016

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ISBN: 9781446269756
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