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Visual Research Methods in Tourism: From Traditional Visuals to Instagram

The proposed contribution aims at providing the audience with a systematic overview of qualitative methods, tools and insights useful to analyze visuals in tourism. The novel visual landscape, characterized by big data availability, calls for a better understanding and usage of visuals in tourism research. Recent studies encourage new methodological perspectives and promote adequate visual analysis (Volo & Irimias, 2020). This presentation advocates for rigorous visual analysis of images based on systematic, objective, and explicit methodological approaches that enable scholars to analyze the compositional value of images and the associated meanings, to capture relevant visual connotations and patterns (Pink, 2006; Rakić, & Chambers, 2012; Rose, 2012). Different research approaches will be discussed and examples from traditional and visual social networks will be analyzed. The presentation aims at providing participants to the Qualitative Research Methods Workshop the essential qualitative methods, tools and insights to successfully analyze visuals for tourism research purposes. Participants to the workshop will be expose to a variety of visual stimuli -coming from field research and from published works- with the aim of creating a “sensitivity to visuals” from sketches to Instagram snapshots. Finally, the presentation will offer critiques of the currently used methods, discuss alternative methodological approaches and debate on the techniques that can be used to address trustworthiness and reflexivity in the use of visuals as qualitative data. Rakić, T., & Chambers, D. (Eds.) (2012). An introduction to visual research methods in tourism. Routledge. Rose, G. (2012). Visual Methodologies: An Introduction to Researching with Visual Materials, Sage Publications. Pink (2013). Doing visual etnography. Sage Publications. Volo, S., Irimiás, A. (2020). “Instagram: Visual methods in tourism research.” Annals of Tourism Research, 103098.