An introduction to visual research methods

For Immediate Release
Wed, 03/10/2021


Rob Christopher

Marketing Coordinator

ALA Publishing

American Library Association


CHICAGO — “Visual Research Methods: An Introduction for Library and Information Studies,” published by Facet Publishing and available through the ALA Store, is the first book to focus on visual methods in LIS, providing a comprehensive primer for students, educators, researchers, and practitioners in the field. Visual research methods (VRM) comprise a collection of methods that incorporate visual elements such as maps, drawings, photographs, videos, as well as three-dimensional objects into the research process. In addition, VRM including photo-elicitation, photovoice, draw-and-write techniques, and cognitive mapping are being leveraged to great effect to explore information experiences to investigate some of the central questions in the field; expand theoretical discussions in LIS; and improve library services and spaces. Contributed chapters in the book showcase examples of VRM in action and offer the insights, inspirations, and experiences of researchers and practitioners working with visual methods. Edited by Shailoo Bedi and Jenaya Webb, this book’s coverage includes: 

  • an introduction to visual research methods including discussion of terminology;
  • an overview of the literature on VRM in libraries;
  • methodological framing including a discussion of theory and epistemology;
  • practical and ethical considerations for researchers embarking on VRM projects;
  • chapters showcasing VRM in action including drawing techniques, photographic techniques, and mixed methods; and
  • six contributed chapters each showcasing the results of visual research methods, discussions of the techniques, and reflections on VRM for research in information studies.

Dr. Bedi works at the University of Victoria (UVic) as both Director, Academic Commons and Strategic Assessment with the Libraries as well as Director, Office of Student Academic Success with Learning, Teaching Support & Innovation. Her research interests include the construction and issues of identity for racialized minority leaders, as well as student experience with learning spaces, student research creation, and visual research methods. Webb is the Public Services and Research Librarian at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) Library at the University of Toronto. Since completing her MLIS at the University of Toronto, she has worked to bring visual methods and approaches to the library context to explore user experience, wayfinding, and meaning-making in library spaces.

Facet Publishing, the commercial publishing and bookselling arm of CILIP: the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals, is the leading publisher of books for library and information professionals worldwide. Many book retailers and distributors are experiencing service disruptions or delays, including Amazon. For speediest service, order direct from the ALA Store. ALA Store purchases fund advocacy, awareness and accreditation programs for library and information professionals worldwide. ALA Editions | ALA Neal-Schuman publishes resources used by library and information professionals, scholars, students, and educators to improve programs and services, build on best practices, enhance pedagogy, share research, develop leadership, and promote advocacy. ALA authors and developers are leaders in their fields, and their content is published in a variety of print and electronic formats. Contact ALA Editions | ALA Neal-Schuman at