CPT-58802 Visual Research Methods


Credits 2.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Independent study0
Course coordinator(s)dr. LM Witteveen
dr. R Lie
Lecturer(s)dr. R Lie
dr. LM Witteveen
Examiner(s)dr. LM Witteveen
dr. R Lie

Language of instruction:



Visual research methods are increasingly used in contemporary research. Visual research methods - such as using photography or video - are applied as the numerous obtained visual data can disclose aspects of (inter)action, document certain practices (through repeated observation) and further support multidisciplinary analysis. The selection of visual research methods is also more accessible by technological facilities, both hardware (e.g. mobile phones) and software e.g. for editing and management.
The course departs from the notion that the academia are just recently disclosing the full potential of visual data and require capacity building and due reflection. In the social sciences a more awaiting and critical approach is prevailing, articulated in debates on ethical implications. As in all domains it is recognized that the assumed richness of visual data also confronts researchers with challenges in the process of documenting, analysing and interpreting of the visual data.
This course focuses on the potential and the qualities of visual data collection in research and will start with a review of the diversity of research strategies that incorporate visual data. Visual literacy and visual ethics will be positioned from an academic point of view to further legitimize obtaining and using visual data.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- explain the diversity of research methodologies that incorporate visual data;
- select a visual research methodology, which is suitable for their research project;
- create primary visual data; both graphics as video;
- collect secondary visual data; both graphics as video;
- analyse and discuss the quality of visual material;
- apply visual research ethics to collecting and analysing visual data;
- transcribe, label, code and analyse footage;
- differentiate between roles of researcher and photographer/filmmaker;
- contribute to a further positioning of VRM at WUR as a contemporary research issue.


The course is a combination of interactive sessions and assignments in relation to topics such as research design, ethics, representation in practice (portrayal), recording and analysing films. Some basic visual production techniques will be trained in a context of a scientific practice. Participants will gain familiarity with multimodal transcription, labelling and coding of observations and analysing footage with respondents/peers.


Course participants deliver a final assignment of their choice, which emerged during or otherwise relates to the course content. It is recommended to link this assignment with ongoing research activities. Procedures followed to finalise this product will be discussed with participants individually and require approval by course staff. The final assignment has to be submitted for assessment within 2 months after the taught course. With an assessment of sufficient quality, the certificate of attendance will be issued.


To be announced.