Research School for Socio-Economic and
Natural Sciences of the Environment
Research School for Socio-Economic and
Natural Sciences of the Environment

Visual research methods

Date: 22 March 2021 - 06 April 2021
Location: Wageningen

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 (eg 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.
  • Transcribing, labelling, coding and analysing footage
  • Differentiate between roles of researcher and photographer / filmmaker


The course is a combination of interactive sessions and assignments in relation topics such as to 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.

Target group and min/max number of participants

The course is highly recommended for PhD students at the beginning of their PhD who want to incorporate visual research methodologies. Staff members and other researchers interested in visual research methods in general are welcome.

The maximum number of participants is set at 20, the minimum at 10.

> More information and registration

Former occurences of this course

  • 11-27 March 2020
  • 15-22 March 2019
  • 22 March - 12 April 2018