Methodology courses and philosophy of science

Course information

ECTS: 1.5 
Number of sessions: 3
Hours per session: 3
Course fee:

  • free for PhD candidates of the Graduate School
  • €400,- for non-members
  • consult our enrolment policy for more information


Telephone: +31 (0)10 4082607 (Graduate School)

Session 1
May 14 (Thursday) 2020
Mandeville building (directions), room T19-01

Session 2
May 28 (Thursday) 2020
Mandeville building (directions), room T19-01 

Session 3
June 4 (Thursday) 2020
Mandeville building (directions), room T19-01 


Photovoice is an innovative qualitative research method which asks research participants to capture their experiences and thoughts through photos or videos. As such it helps engage participants with the research in other ways than interviews and focus groups, providing different insights into their lifeworld. This course discusses the methodological background of Photovoice, how it can be employed and the kind of knowledge it can provide. PhD candidates will also think through ethical issues relating to the application of the method. It is a method suitable for researchers working in various fields, including of Arts and Culture Studies, Media and Communication, Pedagogical and Educational Sciences, Sociology and Urban Development and Governance. 

Aims and working method

PhD candidates are required to prepare the course by reading literature and by collecting their own visual material. Through conducting a small project of your own, you will get hands-on practice with the data collection process, exercise with the analysis and interpretation of visual material, discuss possible ways of dissemination (publications, expositions, etc.) and reflect on the research process. 

Learning objectives

After completing this course, participants will:

  • Understand the methodological background of Photovoice;
  • Know for which research purposes Photovoice can be used;
  • Have the practical skills to collect and assess data with Photovoice.

Preparatory assignments

The workshop consists of three sessions. All participants will bring a photograph or image to the first session that represents who they are. 

In between the first and second session participants will gather some visual data, for further discussion during the second session. Instructions will follow. In between the second and third session, participants will analyse the visual data they have gathered. 

In addition, in order to actively participate, participants are required to read the following literature. The literature is available online unless otherwise stated. 

  • Drew, S., & Guillemin, M. (2014). From photographs to findings: Visual meaning-making and interpretive engagement in the analysis of participant-generated images. Visual Studies, 29(1), 54-67
  • Holm, Gunilla (2014). Photography as a Research Method. In Patricia Leavy (Ed.), Oxford Handbook of Qualitative Research (Chapter 19). Oxford: Oxford University Press. (Will be distributed)
    Will be distributed.
  • Lomax, H. (2015). Seen and heard? ethics and agency in participatory visual research with children, young people and families. Families, Relationships and Societies, 4(3), 493-502.
  • Reason, Peter & Bradbury, Hilary (2008). Introduction. In P. Reason, & H. Bradbury (Eds.), The SAGE Handbook of action research: Participative Inquiry and Practice. (pp. 1-10). London: Sage.
    Will be distributed.

  • Weber, Sandra (2008). Visual Images in Research. In J. Gary Knowles, & Ardra L. Cole (Eds.), Handbook of the arts in qualitative research : perspectives, methodologies, examples, and issues. (pp. 41-53). London: Sage. 
    Will be distributed.

  • Wang, C. C., Cash, J. L., & Powers, L. S. (2000). Who knows the streets as well as the homeless? Promoting personal and community action through Photovoice. Health Promotion Practice, 1(1), 81-89.
    Will be distributed.

Sessions description

Session 1
Introduction on the basis of photograph/image brought by participants

  • Discussion on the basis of the literature: 
    • Methodological and epistemological background
    • Explanation of how to apply Photovoice
    • Preparation for data gathering phase
  • Reflection on possibilities, limitations, and ethical issues throughout the two sessions.

Session 2
Discussion of the gathered material and first exercises with photovoice analysis, based on own material

  • Reflection on possibilities, limitations, and ethical issues throughout the three sessions. 

Session 3
Discussion of the analysis

  • Thinking through possible ways of disseminating the research (academic/non-academic publications, exhibitions, etc.)
  • Reflection on possibilities, limitations, and ethical issues throughout the three sessions.

About the instructor

Dr Pauline van Romondt Vis is a lecturer and researcher at the department of Media and Culture at Utrecht University. She received her PhD in 2016 from Loughborough University, UK. Her research focussed on how creative research methods, such as Photovoice, were taken up in the social sciences and the struggles this entailed for individual researchers.