You are here

Visual Methods in Social Research

Visual Methods in Social Research

Second Edition

Visual Research

© 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

Sample Materials & Chapters

Visual Methods in Social Research: Encountering the Visual

Preview this book

For instructors

Review and Desk copies for this title are available digitally via VitalSource.

Request e-review copy

If you require a print review copy, please call: (800) 818-7243 ext. 6140 or email

Select a Purchasing Option

Electronic version
Prices from

ISBN: 9781446269756

ISBN: 9781446269749