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The Handbook of Visual Analysis

The Handbook of Visual Analysis

First Edition
Edited by:

May 2001 | 224 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd

The Handbook of Visual Analysis is a rich methodological resource for students, academics, researchers and professionals interested in investigating the visual representation of socially significant issues.

The Handbook:

  • Offers a wide-range of methods for visual analysis: content analysis, historical analysis, structuralist analysis, iconography, psychoanalysis, social semiotic analysis, film analysis and ethnomethodology
  • Shows how each method can be applied for the purposes of specific research projects
  • Exemplifies each approach through detailed analyses of a variety of data, including, newspaper images, family photos, drawings, art works and cartoons
  • Includes examples from the authors' own research and professional practice

The Handbook of Visual Analysis, which demonstrates the importance of visual data within the social sciences offers an essential guide to those working in a range of disciplines including: media and communication studies, sociology, anthropology, education, psychoanalysis, and health studies. 

Philip Bell
Content Analysis of Visual Images
Malcolm Collier
Approaches to Analysis in Visual Anthropology
Martin Lister and Liz Wells
Seeing beyond Belief
Cultural Studies as an Approach to Analyzing the Visual
Theo van Leeuwen
Semiotics and Iconography
Gertraud Diem-Wille
A Therapeutic Perspective
The Use of Drawings in Child Psychoanalysis and Social Science

Carey Jewitt and Rumiko Oyama
Visual Meaning
A Social Semiotic Approach

Charles Goodwin
Practices of Seeing, Visual Analysis
An Ethnomethodological Approach

Rick Iedema
Analyzing Film and Television
A Social Semiotic Account of 'Hospital: An Unhealthy Business'


`This is the book on visual analysis I have been waiting decades to see. Written by the leading visual analysts of our time, this book gives not only the substance of their analyses, but tells us how they do their work as well. From content analysis to cultural studies, film and photography to anthropology, if you do visual analysis, this is a handbook you will want on your bookshelf' - Ron Scollon, Georgetown University

The Handbook of Visual Analysis is an essential read and first entry point into the field of visual analysis. As such it provides a very good overview of different methods and methodological approaches, offering comprehensible examples of how to apply the methods to the material.

Ms Dorothea Born
Science and Technology Studies, University of Vienna
May 18, 2017

Valuable book that well supplements other qualitative research methods' textbooks. The chapters on content analysis and drawings have been very useful to inform my teaching at both undergraduate and graduate levels.

Dr Xavier Matteucci
Tourism Management, FHWien University of Applied Sciences
June 19, 2015

This is a useful book, one that provides a good overview to a wide range of methods for visual analysis. Although its individual chapters are extremely useful in their own right as introductions to these diverse methods, it is very unlikely that a single module would cover all these different approaches. As a consequence, the usefulness of the book lies more on these individual chapters than in the book as a whole.

Dr Ignacio Aguiló
Spanish, Portugese & Latin Amer Studs, Manchester University
March 23, 2015

This book is a seminal work that film and media scholars and students must engage with. It offers a detailed alternative to semiotics proper and is ideal for analysing film and media texts (including political advertisements, both print and tv/youtube) with a focus on the political, ideological and cultural.

Professor Beschara Karam
Department of Communicatin Science, University of South Africa
February 12, 2015

A very useful text to support the assessment for the Visual Communication module which requires learners to evaluate the appropriateness of different methodologies to the analysis of a specific visual/ document including visuals. It provides a useful overview of methodologies as well as illustrating these with case studies.

Dr Ester Ehiyazaryan
Communication & Media, Sheffield Hallam University
April 10, 2013

This is the only book I can find with comprehensive information on visual and content analysis.

Professor Jennifer Brown
Graduate School of Arts and Social Sciences, Lesley University
April 8, 2012

This handbook provides students (and researchers) with a useful overview of different approaches to visual methods and - importantly - analysis. I will be recommending students who undertake visual approaches in their MA research to engage with this text.

Dr Joanna Vearey
African Centre for Migration & Society, University of the Witwatersrand
March 2, 2012

Sage College Publishing

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