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Visual Methodologies

Visual Methodologies
An Introduction to Researching with Visual Materials

Fourth Edition
Additional resources:

March 2016 | 456 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
Now in its Fourth Edition, Visual Methodologies: An Introduction to Researching with Visual Materials is a bestselling critical guide to the study and analysis of visual culture. Existing chapters have been fully updated to offer a rigorous examination and demonstration of an individual methodology in a clear and structured style. 

Reflecting changes in the way society consumes and creates its visual content, new features include:
  • Brand new chapters dealing with social media platforms, the development of digital methods and the modern circulation and audiencing of research images
  • More 'Focus' features covering interactive documentaries, digital story-telling and participant mapping
  • A Companion Website featuring links to useful further resources relating to each chapter.

A now classic text, Visual Methodologies appeals to undergraduates, graduates, researchers and academics across the social sciences and humanities who are looking to get to grips with the complex debates and ideas in visual analysis and interpretation. 

Researching with Visual Materials: A Brief Survey
Towards a Critical Visual Methodology
How to Use this Book
‘The Good Eye’: Looking at Pictures Using Compositional Interpretation
Content Analysis and Cutltural Analytics: Finding Patterns in What You See
Semiology: Laying Bare the Prejudices Beneath the Smooth Surface of the Visible
Psychoanalysis: Visual Culture, Visual Pleasure, Visual Disruption
Discourse Analysis I: Text, Intertextuality and Context
Discourse Analysis II: Institutions and Ways of Seeing
To Audience Studies and Beyond: Ethnographies of Audiences, Fans and Users
Digital Methods: Digital Images, Digitally Analysed
Making Images as Research Data: Photo-documentation and Photo-elicitation
Using Images to Disseminate Research Findings: The Circulation and Audiencing
Research Ethics and Visual Materials
Visual Methodologies: A Review


There is simply no better resource or inspiration for conducting, analyzing, and disseminating visual research than Gillian Rose’s Visual Methodologies. Her theoretical clarity about visual culture and power relations is seamlessly woven into her discussion and evaluation of a wide range of research methods. The breadth, depth, and detail of the exemplary research upon which she draws to elucidate the different approaches increases with each revised volume, and the 4 Edition is no exception. Rose has given us a comprehensive, wise, and rigorous guide for doing visual research that will invigorate the field and its practitioners.

Professor Wendy Luttrell
Graduate Center, City University of New York

There is now increasing use of visual methods in empirically-grounded research. This increased use may be attributable to new and accessible technologies for visualisation. It may also, Rose and others have argued, reflect increased awareness of the appropriateness of visual methods as a means of documenting and representing the social world.

The methodological insights provided by researchers’ experiences of applying visual methods are brought together in Rose’s compendium. This book is aimed at a wide readership: from new undergraduates, to postgraduate researchers and academics across both humanities and social science. It can be used as an introduction, a refresher, or for more in-depth debate.

Written in an accessible style, following a theoretical introduction and useful navigation section, each of the following eight chapters follows a common format. Different methodologies used to interpret visual culture are set out with examples, theoretical underpinnings, elaboration of the method, issues for discussion, critique, and finally a summary and further reading.

Rosemary Lamport
NatCen Social Research
SRA Research Matters

This book gives students a comprehensive introduction to visual methods. Essential reading as it gives students a broad understanding of the approaches available.

Dr Angela Dickinson
CRIPACC, Hertfordshire University
October 25, 2019

I love this book. It's so useful and really easy to read for students.

Dr Jason E Miller
Sociology/Anthropology Dept, Washburn University
April 13, 2020

A detailed guideline particularly helpful for researchers who are new to visual methodologies.

Ms Sapana Basnet Bista
Centre for Public Health, Liverpool John Moores University
September 23, 2019

Visual Methodologies is inspiring and useful. The examples are rich and plentiful, the ideas well argued and theoretically grounded.

Ms Donna Frost
Health and Nursing, Fontys University of Applied Sciences (Eindhoven)
April 29, 2019

Visual Methodologies is a must-read book for any researcher –scholar or student– interested in analysing visuals. This 4th edition is fully updated, as to include the analysis of digital media. The book is organized into chapters that allow a methodology-driven reading: content analysis, semiology, psychoanalysis, (Foucauldian) discourse analysis. It also features a rich companion website with useful additional materials. Solid, clear, complete, this is an excellent introductory text on the critical analysis of visuals.

Dr Francesco Screti
Humanities, Glion Institute of Higher Education
February 6, 2018