SP720 Visual Sociology: Qualitative Research Methods Third Year Option, School of Political Science and Sociology, Semester 2, 2014/15

This undergraduate qualitative research methodology module introduces students to visual inquiry, its key principles and methods. Visual practices in sociology, anthropology and the creative arts are examined. An opportunity to present own work is a key component of the module, based on observing, data gathering, recording, interpreting and communicating with visual images. In visual sociology technologies (the pencil, a camera) are used to gather data; the visual data produced by members of society past and present are studied; and visual media are used to communicate sociological research to public and professional audiences. Critically reflecting how visual knowledge and technologies may be useful for understanding society visually, we consider the social function of the image and the social meaning of the image from a sociological perspective. This year the module focuses on urban space and social interactions.


Aims To sensitise students to the visual in the social and the social in the visual

To inform students about the literature concerning the history and development of visual research methodologies in the human sciences (reading)

To familiarise stduents with innovative visual methods for research in digital and online environments (reading, online resources, class exercises)

To present examples of visual research projects (for example in art, mass media, anthropology, ethnography and sociology) (readings, on-line links, field trips)

To engage students in the experience of doing visual research (practice base)

To appraise students of the visual as a route to sociological knowledge (field trips,  assignments and assessments)

Learning Outcomes On sucessful completion of this module students will be able to:

Outline a variety of visual methods of data gathering in the human sciences for discussion and analysis (Knowledge)

Anticipate and identify challenges of researching digital/online environments

Review the production, consumption and meaning of the visual products of society (Comprehension)

Recognise the conjunctions between the sociological use of the visual and artistic interventions in the social (Knowledge)

Design, complete and present own visual sociology research project (Application)


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