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Doing Visual Research

Doing Visual Research

May 2011 | 232 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
Doing Visual Research offers an innovative introduction to the use of photography, collaborative video, drawing, objects, multi-media production and installation in research. Claudia Mitchell explains how visual methods can be used as modes of inquiry as well as modes of representation for social research.


The book looks at a range of conceptual and practical approaches to a range of tools and methods, whilst also highlighting the interpretive and ethical issues that arise when engaging in visual research. Claudia Mitchell draws on her own work in the field of visual research throughout to offer extensive examples from a variety of settings and with a variety of populations.

Topics covered include:

• Photographs and memory work studies

• Video and social change

• Participatory archiving with drawings and photos

• Working with images/Writing about images

• Can visual methods make a difference? From practice to policy


Doing Visual Research takes an interdisciplinary approach to the subject of visual research, producing a practical introduction to the subject that will be of great use to students and researchers across the social sciences, and in particular in education, communication, sociology, gender, development, social work and public health.

Getting the Picture

On a Pedagogy of Ethics in Visual Research
Who's in the Picture?

Not Just an Object
Working with Things, Objects and Artefacts in Visual Research

Seeing for Ourselves
A Case for Community-Based Photography

Community-Based Video-Making
Working with Photo Images
A Textual Reading on the Presence of Absence

Data Collections and Building a Democratic Archive
'No More Pictures without a Context' (with Naydene de Lange)

Look and See
Images of Image-Making

What Can a Visual Researcher Do with a Camera?
Changing the Picture
How Can Images Influence Policy-Making?


This is an accessible and engaging book that I would highly recommend to undergraduate and masters level students who are planning to undertake a dissertation applying visual research. The book will be particularly useful for students with an interest in data production approaches employing photography and film.

Dr Dawn Mannay
SOCSI, Cardiff University
February 20, 2013

this is a good text if you are considering visual methods, it is a supplementary text as the module is multiprofessional therefore the students follow many different research paths

Mrs Victoria Ridgway
Nursing , Chester University
November 7, 2012

A very useful textbook for students who elect to follow a creative route for their final year dissertation.

Mr Jedge Pilbrow
Department of Humanities, Brighton University
October 12, 2012

The book is a very well prepared methodological tool to develop skills necessary to analyze visual culture using different perspectives and methods of visual analysis. Using this textbook allows to provide basic knowledge about working with and writing about images: photographs, video, drawings. It also provides knowledge how to “read” the messages of the popular culture.

Ms Vilmante Liubiniene
Facul, Kaunas University of Technology
October 9, 2012

Very interesting book, especially when new to the field. Covers wide array from theoretical/scientific background to detailed "how to"-suggestions. Very good for starters who would like to deepen their knowledge in the medium to long run. I will definitely intensify usage when preparing new course on (Service) Design Thinking.

Dr Carsten Reuter
Services, Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits IIS
June 19, 2012

This is an excellent text and one that I will use not only in my research methods and methodologies module but also in my community media modules at under and post grad levels. I will also recommend it to the practice-based dissertation module leaders for adoption.

Dr Peter Day
School of Arts & Media, Brighton University
June 19, 2012

Although this is an excellent book in its own right, it is very detailed in terms of visual research methodology, and it is too complex for students working at the level required by this module.

Dr Max Hope
Centre for Educational Studies, Hull University
May 14, 2012

A good starting point for researchers and photographers who seriously want to explore the potential of the visual as a research tool.

Mr John Aitken
JOMEC, Central Lancashire University
May 12, 2012

My students have found the text very insightful to visual communication from the theoretical perspective to actual interpretation of images.

Dr Ayo Amuda
Faculty of Humanities &Social Sciences, Glamorgan University
March 13, 2012

Claudia Mitchel provided a very good training in making photography as well as making other imagery (as with extra computer software) become a major endeavour for journalism students.
We have used her text to enhance responses from several fields of regional journalism, namely newspapers and weekly reviews and we can only hope this will become a fully adopted text book in the next courses.

Professor Luisa Magalhaes
Faculty of Philosophy, Catholic University of Portugal
February 2, 2012

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1