Photography in Social Science Research


  • Carlos Miguel Ferreira Interdisciplinary Centre of Social Sciences – CICS.NOVA; ISCTE -University Institute of Lisbon, Estoril Higher Institute for Tourism and Hotel Studies, Portugal
  • Sandro Serpa Department of Sociology, Faculty of Social and Human Sciences,University of the Azores; Interdisciplinary Centre of Social Sciences – CICS.UAc/CICS.NOVA.UAc; Interdisciplinary Centre for Childhood and Adolescence – NICA -UAc, Portugal



Visual communication is critical in contemporary societies. Research in social sciences increasingly tends to mobilize the image, for example, in the form of photography, in its processes (in the collection and interpretation of information) and products (in the communication of research results), which leads to the need to reflect critically on its specificities. This paper aims to add to the analysis of the potentialities, limitations and challenges of the use of photography in social sciences research. For this purpose, the paper presents and discusses empirically collected documentary expressions, selected from an organizational case study based on their heuristic capacity to illustrate the argumentation put forth herein. It is concluded that the potential of the use of photography in research in social sciences is high, but it is essential that the researcher considers, besides more technical aspects and ethical complexities, that photography is, in part, also the materialization of a certain socially constructed representation of reality.


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How to Cite

Ferreira, C. M. ., & Serpa, S. . (2020). Photography in Social Science Research. Journal of Educational and Social Research, 10(4), 62.




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