Visual methods in socio-psychological research



The methodological and historical background of the use of visual methods in social and psychological research is considered. The advantages of a multimodal approach to the analysis of social phenomena are discussed; the main ways of including visual data in qualitative research are systematized. The key areas and directions of research using the visual approach are outlined. An attempt is made to organize all the variety of visual studies, from the use of visual data as an aid to the analysis of visual data as such. The main groups of visual studies use images 1) as a means of visualizing the results; 2) as an incentive to initiate discussion; 3) as an addition to verbal information that helps self-disclosure; 4) as a way to Express their views or relationships; 5) as an independent goal of the study. Despite the prevalence of verbal research methods in psychology, human ideas about the world are multimodal, so the use of a multimodal research strategy is designed to enrich knowledge about the person and his place in the social world.

General Information

Keywords: visual data, visual methods, qualitative research, interpretive approach, multimodal and monomodal approaches, visual culture

Journal rubric: Theoretical Research

Article type: scientific article


For citation: Mel’nikova O.T., Mezentseva A.S. Visual methods in socio-psychological research. Sotsial'naya psikhologiya i obshchestvo = Social Psychology and Society, 2018. Vol. 9, no. 3, pp. 42–52. DOI: 10.17759/sps.2018090305. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)


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Information About the Authors

Olga T. Mel’nikova, Doctor of Psychology, Professor, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia, e-mail:

Aena S. Mezentseva, Head of Research and Development Department of the Laboratory, «Humanitarian Technologies», Moscow, Russia, e-mail:



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