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Visual Methodologies


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Table of Contents

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

About the Author

My research interests lie broadly within the field of visual culture. I'm interested in visuality as a kind of practice, done by human subjects in collaboration with different kinds of objects and technologies. One long-term project, which resulted in a book from Ashgate Press in 2010, looked at family photos. I approached family snaps by thinking of them as objects embedded in a wide range of practices. I interviewed women with young children about their photos, and also looked at the politics and ethics of family snaps moving into more public arenas of display when the people they picture are the victims of violence. The book explores the different 'politics of sentiment' in which family snaps participate in both their domestic spaces in the public space of the contemporary mass media. Other work is extending my interest in subjectivities, space and visual practices by exploring experiences of designed urban spaces. I completed an ESRC-funded project on this theme with Dr Monica Degen at Brunel University in 2009, in which we compared how people experienced two rather different town centres: Milton Keynes and Bedford. Monica Degen, Clare Melhuish and I started a new ESRC-funded project in the autumn of 2011. 'Architectural atmospheres, branding and the social: the role of digital visualizing technologies in contemporary architectural practice' was a two-year ethnographic study of how digital visualizing technologies are being used by architects in a number of architects' studio in London. I'm also interested in more innovative ways to produce social science research, especially using visual materials. I was involved in organising the ESRC Seminar Series 'Visual Dialogues: New Agendas in Inequalities Research' (2010-2012). Please visit the 'Visual Dialogues: New Agendas in Inequalities Research' for more details. I'm also a member of the OpenSpace Research Centre.


Gillian Rose has provided a welcome overview of the state of the field. Visual Methodologies succeeds both as an introductory text, certain to be widely adopted in the classroom, and as a sophisticated refresher course for those who have followed the rapid maturation of this remarkable interdisciplinary discourse. Added material on the latest advances in digital technology brings this latest edition to the cutting edge of visual culture studies.

-- Martin Jay

Visual Methodologies is an indispensable resource for anyone working with visual materials. It offers practical guidance and expert theoretical orientation on how to approach, think about, and interpret visual culture, ranging from archival photography and documentary film to websites and social media. An important aspect of this book is the attention paid to audiences and viewing publics, as well as to the ethical demands of visual research. In this new edition, Gillian Rose brings the book fully up to date with contemporary developments in media arts and digital culture, and explores the new possibilities for visual research made possible by developments in software and data analytics. Whether you are new to studying visual culture or a seasoned expert seeking to refine your approach, Visual Methodologies has you covered.

-- Christoph Lindner
An indispensible book for teaching and understanding methods in visual culture. Clear, comprehensive, and lucid, it makes accessible the how, why, and what of different methodological approaches in ways that elucidate paths to better research and argument.

The constantly changing terrain of visual culture today makes many demands on scholarly and theoretical approaches, and this Fourth Edition does not disappoint, with updated concepts and an explanation of digital methods. As an introduction of methods in cultural studies, communication, and visual culture research, this book is unparalleled. Essential reading for anyone writing an MA thesis of doctoral dissertation. -- Marita Sturken
An essential book for all students, researchers and academics interested in visual culture. The book has always had an interdisciplinary research, making it an adaptable, meaningful text. With this new edition, the application of visual methodologies is made even more vital given its coverage of digital technologies and our expanded engagement with the image through complex and nuanced visualization of everything online. This extends not only our daily perception of the visual, but creates new ground through which to understand ourselves and our relationship to others. Visual Methodologies treats the emergence of this with passion, providing a theoretical and methodological framework that is accessible, engaging and exciting. -- Dr Adrienne Evans
Through its previous editions Visual Methodologies has undoubtedly become a profoundly influential text. Through a series of telling and careful revisions it has been significantly updated in response to changing visual cultures. This edition refreshes and reinvigorates what was already a lively, revealing and vital text. Not least, this updated edition responds directly to changes in digital cultures and the new possibilities of visual engagement and communication. It is the ideal guide to teaching and researching with visual methods. -- Dr David Beer
Gillian Rose has done it again. This indispensable guide to visual methodologies improves with each edition. Extensively updated and revised, there is a new emphasis here on the circulation of images through varied technologies and the potential for digital methods to reveal patterns in the movements, translations and social value of such images. The reader comes away not only with practical knowledge for designing research questions and methods, but crucially with an enhanced understanding of the theoretical foundations and ethical considerations which underpin the most valuable and insightful visual analyses. This is not simply a 'how to' methods book. -- Dr Katy Parry
For the last 15 years, Rose's Visual Methodologies has been an exceptionally influential and invaluable text for those wishing to engage with visual research methods, with each new edition evolving and building upon the strengths of the previous. This fourth edition is no exception. With an expanded coverage of new media, Rose's revised work encompasses a comprehensive and detailed overview of imaginative approaches and engagements with visual materials that are readily accessible for undergraduate and postgraduate researchers. Moreover, this new edition effectively addresses many of those pressing questions often asked by student researchers, not only in terms of the practical aspects of using critical visual methods, but also in relation to the dissemination of research through visual techniques. In short, this fourth edition represents a welcome expansion of an already definitive introductory text on critical visual methods. -- James Robinson
Remains the authoritative introductory text on the methods of visual research. Conveying the richness and excitement of visual culture research, Rose expertly navigates across a range of methodologies, explaining in detail their particular usefulness and limitations through practical examples. For anyone already familiar with Visual Methodologies, this fourth edition offers a significant reworking of previous content. This includes a discussion of digital methods for online imagery and expansion of digital media examples, the production and use of images for research dissemination and, most significantly, the inclusion of the cite of circulation within the framework that Rose presents for the analysis of visual culture. As such, Rose demonstrates the evolving nature of visual research and its methods, and reminds us of the passion involved in its study. A must buy for students and scholars alike. -- Julie Doyle
One and half decade after its first edition, Visual Methodologies continues to position itself as a key reading for anyone who is looking for a solid, accessible and systematic introduction to the increasingly popular but complex domain of image analysis and visual culture research. Gillian Rose deserves much praise for her sustained and highly successful efforts to keep this core text in critical visual analysis as fresh and relevant as ever. This fourth edition includes discussions about the newest visual and digital technologies and their interrelated practices. But the author also thoroughly revisited and refined the book's overall structure to better guide the uninitiated reader through this kaleidoscopic and somewhat confused area of study. -- Luc Pauwels
Clear, comprehensive, theoretically informed, and now fully updated and revised, Visual Methodologies is an excellent guide to the rapidly growing field of visual research. -- Theo van Leeuwen
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

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 * SRA Research Matters *

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