In contemporary Western societies, the visual domain has come to assume a thus far unprecedented cultural centrality. Daily life is replete with a potentially endless stream of images and other visual messages: from the electronic and paper-based billboards of the street, to the TV and Internet feeds of the home. The visual has become imbued with a symbolic potency, a signifying power that seemingly eclipses that of all other sensory data.

The central aim of this four-volume collection is to explore key approaches to visual research methods and to consider some of the core principles, issues, debates and controversies surrounding the use of visual techniques in relation to three key enterprises: 1) documentation and representation; 2) interpretation and classification and 3) elicitation and collaboration.

Volume 1: Principles, Issues, Debates and Controversies in Visual Research serves as a theoretical backdrop to the field as a whole. It introduces core epistemological, ethical and methodological debates that effectively cut across the four volume collection as a whole. Volume 2: Documentation and Representation illustrates approaches to visual documentation and representation, from classical documentaries to contemporary, state of the art modes of visual anthropology and ethnography. Volume 3: Interpretation and Classification examines core debates surrounding and approaches to visual analysis. Finally, Volume 4: Elicitation and Collaboration explores participative approaches to visual inquiry.

When Words Fail Us: Using Visual Composites in Research Reporting

When Words Fail Us: Using Visual Composites in Research ReportingFrank X.SligoMassey University, Wellington, New Zealand, University, Wellington, New Zealand, Publications, Inc.
2455 Teller RoadThousand OaksCalifornia91320United States of America
February 2011101636385

Contact SAGE Publications at


Encoding from PDF of original work

When Words Fail Us: Using Visual Composites in Research Reporting,Frank X.SligoElspethTilleyVisual Communication,10(1)(2011):63–84.Published by SAGE Publications Ltd. Reprinted with permission.

This article describes a use of visual imagery in research reporting that helps to emphasize the human and social dimensions of research issues and encourage different ways of thinking about the findings and implications. During the literature review, in order to establish the authors longitudinal research into adult literacy, they observed that research participants own perspectives and rich life-worlds ...

locked icon

Sign in to access this content

Get a 30 day FREE TRIAL

  • Watch videos from a variety of sources bringing classroom topics to life
  • Read modern, diverse business cases
  • Explore hundreds of books and reference titles