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Visual Methodologies
An Introduction to Researching with Visual Materials

Fifth Edition


January 2023 | 480 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
Have you found some exciting images that you want to explore but don’t know how to start your research or what methods to choose? Do you have a question about an aspect of visual culture that you want to answer?  

Whatever level of experience you have, this classic text will provide you with the key skills you need to complete a visual methods research project, understand the rationale behind each step, and engage with the contexts and power relations that shape our interpretation of visual images. 

With a clear step-by-step approach that is easy to dip in and out of, the book features:  

•Key examples in every methods chapter to demonstrate how the methods work in practice and with different visual materials 
•‘Focus’ and ‘Discussion’ features that help you practice your skills at specific parts of the methods and understand some of the method’s complexities 
•Guidance on researching using digital visual media, such as Instagram and TikTok, integrated throughout the book

This bestselling critical guide is the perfect companion to visual methods projects for undergraduates, graduates, researchers and academics across the social sciences and humanities.


 
How to Use this Book
 
Contexts
 
Researching with Visual Materials: A Brief Survey of Conceptual Debates
 
A Critical Visual Methodology
 
Design
 
Understanding Visual Research Ethics
 
Designing a Visual Methods Research Project
 
How to Find, Format, Reference and Reproduce Images
 
Methods
 
Compositional Interpretation: Looking with a ‘Good Eye’
 
Content Analysis and Cultural Analytics: Finding Patterns in What You See
 
Semiology: Making Sense of Signs
 
Discourse Analysis I: Text, Intertextuality and Context
 
Discourse Analysis II: Instituitions, Objects and Displays
 
Interviews and Ethnographies: Studying Audiences, Fans and Users
 
Making Images as Research Data: Documentation, Elicitation and Participation
 
Applying Digital Methods to Digital Images
 
Engagement
 
Using Images to Make Research Findings Engaging

There can have been few moments when the question of how we see the world has been so important. Exercising an expert eye, Gillian Rose guides the reader through the methods, techniques and approaches that allow us to make sense of all these images and visions. With vibrancy, lucidity and energy, this stone-cold classic reaches its fifth and refreshed edition at just the right time.

David Beer
Professor of Sociology at the University of York

Visual Methodologies remains enormously relevant as the most comprehensive and accessible teaching book on the methodologies of visual culture studies. The book is superbly structured to be a valuable resource for students across undergraduate and graduate study – a book to be kept on the shelf nearby at all times!

Marita Sturken
Professor in the Department of Media, Culture, and Communication at New York University

Visual Methodologies is the essential guide to visual research and a must-have kit for students and academics. With a further insightful and illuminating refresh, Gillian Rose offers a range of vital and practical advice on how to design a research project using visual materials. In addition, the discussion of visual and digital technologies and their associated practices have been updated. Visual Methodologies offers a key to unlocking ideas for thesis or dissertation writing.

Ziye Zang
PhD student, Media and Communication, University of Leeds

The field of visual research continues to grow and diversify, with Gillian Rose’s Visual Methodologies remaining the authority on how to design a critical visual methods research project. This is now the fifth edition and the book has evolved alongside emergent media technologies and an increasing interdisciplinary openness towards visuals. Rose provides comprehensive guidance to studying visual materials across a broad range of research purposes, whether for participatory photography projects or media content analysis. Digital methods, data visualizations and circulation practices might be the ‘new kids on the block’, but this cutting-edge focus is balanced with attention to the continued relevance of semiology, composition, discourse analysis and audience studies. This updated edition is an essential resource for teaching and researching visual communication, and I look forward to sharing its many riches with students.

Katy Parry
Associate Professor in Media and Communication, University of Leeds

Gillian Rose has yet again produced the must-read book for any student of visual methodologies, whether new to the subject or well versed. Maintaining the critical approach of previous editions, Rose has continued to develop and build up upon the evolving nature of visual research. 

Katy Thornton
PhD student, War Studies, Kings College London

Gillian Rose’s fifth edition of Visual Methodologies remains the authoritative introductory text on visual research. Updated to include a chapter on designing visual methods research projects, this text continues to be the best at explaining the why and how of visual research.

Julie Doyle
Professor of Media and Communication, University of Brighton

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