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Palgrave Macmillan

Visual Communication Theory and Research

A Mass Communication Perspective

ISBN 9781137362148
Publication Date May 2014
Formats Hardcover Ebook (EPUB) Ebook (PDF) 
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan

In today's multimedia environment, visuals are essential and expected parts of storytelling. While images may not be everything, they are a fundamental part of almost everything that goes on in the mass media. However, the visual communication research field is fragmented into several sub-areas, making study difficult. This book rectifies this issue by compiling research across different areas. Looking at topics such as the effects of viewing violence on television and analyses of the depictions of minority groups in newspaper photographs, Fahmy, Bock, and Wanta note trends across studies, tie together research across disciplines, and discuss the challenges of conducting analysis of images across print, broadcast, and online media.

  • Winner of the NCA VisComm Research Excellence Award

Shahira Fahmy is Professor in the School of Journalism at the University of Arizona, USA.
Mary Angela Bock is Assistant Professor in the School of Journalism at University of Texas at Austin, USA.
Wayne Wanta is Professor and Chair of the Department of Journalism at the University of Florida, USA.

1. Linking Theory to Visual Communication
2. Historical Research
3. Who: Research on the Sources of Visual Communication
4. Says What: Research on the Content in Visual Communication
5. To Whom: Research on the Audiences in Visual Communication
6. In Which Channel: Research on Media Used in Visual Communication
7. With What Effect I: Research on Cognitive Effects of Visual
8. With What Effect II: Research on Attitudinal Effects of Visual
9. With What Effect III: Research on Behavioral Effects of Visual
10. Conclusions


"Visual communication research is influenced by so many disciplines - psychology, sociology, cognitive science, history and others - that it has been challenging for students to get a broad, comprehensive overview. Visual Communication Theory and Research provides easy access to the topic by categorization according to one of the communication field's most durable models. While each chapter describes dozens of studies to illustrate distinctive theoretical or conceptual threads, commentary at the start and end of the book bind the chapters into a broader narrative that authenticates the central thesis of the book - that visual communication research has come of age and that its focus is of increasing importance in a technological society." - James D. Kelly, Associate Professor and Director of the Honors Program, Indiana University School of Journalism, Indiana University, USA
"There is no one book, no one work that provides the breadth and depth of understanding the realities and underpinnings of visual media as Fahmy, Bock, and Wanta do here. They are the best people to provide a foundation for understanding visual media for graduate and undergraduate students . . . and the general public." - Jack Zibluk, Professor and Chair of Mass Media, Southeast Missouri State University, USA
"For more than three decades there have been calls to give greater attention to visual communication in mass communication research. The responses to those calls have come from many directions and often have been disconnected and fragmentary. This is not surprising given the trans-disciplinary origins and nature of visual communication and visual culture studies. Visual Communication Theory and Research successfully explores and maps much of the burgeoning visual communication work evident in mass communication and photojournalism studies: identifying key theoretical sources for thinking about photography and visual imagery in mass media and news, outlining predominant levels of analysis in historical and media effects research, and noting persistent methodological challenges for incorporating the study of visuals in analyses of media content, audiences, and reception. This is a valuable survey for students, graduate or undergraduate, who wish to pursue research in visual journalism or visual communication studies. It is also a valuable introduction for anyone wishing to learn more about the evolving place of visual communication studies in mass communication research." - Michael Griffin, Media and Cultural Studies, Macalester College, USA,Past Chair, Visual Communication Studies Division, International Communication Association
"This book is broad in its scope and is a useful resource for advanced undergraduate students, graduate students, and visual communication researchers who are looking for a neatly packaged and concise review of the literature on contemporary visual communication scholarship. A primer on visual communication scholarship is a tremendous challenge; images are inherently open to interpretation, and as the authors note, many effects studies produce a mixed bag of results. This of course underscores the importance of research that will shape a distinctive theoretical structure for the visual studies." - Electronic News
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