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Doing Visual Analysis

Doing Visual Analysis
From Theory to Practice

First Edition
  • Per Ledin - Södertörn University, Sweden, Örebro University, Sweden
  • David Machin - Örebro University, Sweden

February 2018 | 216 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd

Visual communication shapes our perceptions and experiences of the world. This is not only a question of photographs or video, but also the design of websites, the use of data visualization software, the branding of packaging, and even the design of buildings and furniture.

Doing Visual Analysis: From Theory to Practice provides a concrete set of tools to research and analyse this wide range of visual data. Showing students how to apply the right mix of methods to their own research projects, it equips them with the skills to break down and analyse the range of contemporary visual communication. The book:

  • Provides examples of how and where certain tools can be used in a project or dissertation
  • Discusses the type of research questions best suited to different tools and methods
  • Shows students how to mix approaches and use tools alongside other methods, such as content analysis or interviews

Doing Visual Analysis is an essential companion for students and researchers of visual data across the social sciences. 

Chapter 1: What is visual communication?
Chapter 2: Approaches to visual communication
Chapter 3: Photographs
Chapter 4: Document design
Chapter 5: Packaging
Chapter 6: Space design
Chapter 7: Film clips
Chapter 8: Data presentation
Chapter 9: Conclusion

A cogent and accessible book that explains how meanings are made through visual and material resources. A must-read for those interested in conducting visual analysis.

Tommaso Milani
University of Gothenburg

Doing Visual Analysis places visual communication at the heart of the political and social organisation of the everyday. It provides an excellent introductory 'tool kit' for researching how visual materials shape what we do, how we think, and how we experience the world.

Carey Jewitt
University College London

"Recognizing that research questions are generated within a context of everyday life experiences and specific media use, this book guides students to good research design as it trains them in analytical skills. This innovative social semiotic approach is distinct among such texts and will benefit students and scholars alike."

Catherine Preston
The University of Kansas

Gives an solid insight to research fields concerning a semiological approach. I appreciate especially the chapters Packaging and Space design as they are normally not in focus in introductory literature and fill a certain gap. Doesn't convey a complete overview of image theory but illustrates nicely how one could conduct visual studies.

Dr Gregor Sterzenbach
Anthropology, LMU Muenchen
March 9, 2018

Easy to read style; logical progression of ideas; clear examples to demonstrate theory; very practical approach to deciphering the semiotics of advertising.

Dr Marguerite Sendall
School of Public Health & Social Work, Queensland University of Technology - Kelvin Grove Campus
March 26, 2018

Well written and interesting. very suitable for under-graduate researchers.

Mr Paul Demetriou-Crane
Education, Havering College of Further and Higher Education
February 15, 2018

This is an accessible and useful text for undergraduates and Masters students to use. The very good use of examples of analysis and application of theory make it one of the few textbooks in this area that really takes the student reader through the various processes of sampling, application of theory and analysis in a lively and critical fashion. It does exactly what it promises, assists your students with applying theory to practice.

Dr Clive Hedges
School of Social Sciences, Business and Law, Teesside University
April 24, 2019
Key features
  • A toolkit approach to researching and analysing photographs, document design, webpages and social media, film-clips, interior design and objects and explains how these techniques can be incorporated in a research project.
  • Multiple visual examples by which the authors show how to apply tried and tested methods to specific instances of visual communications.

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 5: Packaging

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