Potential Topics

Currently, this is a list of topics and issues that we will probably address.  Too long; we’ll have to winnow these down.  Names in parentheses are key thinkers/writers we’ll read.


Introductions:your interests and project. Uses of visual material in various professional/research domains.

Overview of the course and issues related to visual narrative, visual materials in research.

What is the difference between journalism and research? Research and professional practice? And the role of visual materials? Narrative?

Visual narrative/visual storytelling is being used increasingly in a range of settings, for a variety of purposes.  Understanding these, and how they related to tools and practices. Much of the use of media capitalizes on the ability of media to influence viewers, emotionally as well as intellectually; how does this fit with the goals of  academic or professional research?


1. Images as Data

2. Images as records of research

How people use media for data collection, analysis, and presentation.

Combining methods and media.

Participant-generated media; photo diaries; photo voice  (Mannya; Kearney)

Media as probes; photo elicitation (Harper

Some of the issues raised by the uses of media for these settings and purposes, including:

-editing: altering participants’ words?  (Danzico, interactions, 2010 – minor, but partially relevant)

We’ll view and critique some available media products from relevant fields.


Between the researcher and ‘subject,’ the people being represented and those making the images, doing analysis and interpretation.

Using visual media to ‘make the familiar strange’ in a situation in which one is a participant (Mannay)


Historically, this has been the major use of media to social science research.  We will look at the traditional and contemporary understanding and debates.


the power of  visual media: what’s different? How do we understand visual media and its role in our culture, and in research? (Freedberg)

Text and the visual as alternative ways of knowing (MacDougall)


The uses of narrative. Structuring narrative.In

The relationships among various naratives, including those made by the researcher and made and/or lived by participants.

STILL IMAGES – mostly but not entirely photographs

a. How to
b. In research, usability, etc.
c. Theory

Add graphics and other kinds of images?


a. How to
b. In research, usability, etc.
c. Theory


a. How to
b. In research, usability, etc.
c. Theory

There’s lots of theorizing around the visual, but not so much around audio.  And yet audio is powerful — look at the uses of music.

“Voice” – the ability of the participant to speak for him/herself, and how the voice may be (literally) altered in the recording and editing.



Online media make multimodality increasingly common.



The lack of anonymity of visual media  (e.g., interviews) creates particular problems.  In addition: How do we use visual materials of public activity?  What are the ethics of using such powerful media to tell stories and make arguments?  The relationship between the ‘reality’ and specificity of recording media and the ways their presentation is shaped to tell the researcher’s story, make arguments?