DESN 2014 Researching the Visual

Credit Points 10

Legacy Code 102266

Coordinator Michelle Catanzaro Opens in new window

Description This unit will introduce students to various ways of seeing and reading images in the visual environment. Students will learn how to conduct visual research using a tool kit of methods including semiotic analysis, content and thematic analysis, and basic observational research across the digital and material environments of visual communications design, and to apply their findings in the development of visual concepts. Students will continue to engage as reflective practitioners and learn to position themselves as visual researchers within a particular cultural and personal context.

School Humanities & Comm Arts

Discipline Graphic Arts and Design Studies

Student Contribution Band HECS Band 2 10cp

Check your HECS Band contribution amount via the Fees page.

Level Undergraduate Level 2 subject

Pre-requisite(s) DESN 1003 OR
DESN 1011 OR
DESN 1021

Restrictions Students in program 1791 Bachelor of Screen Media (Arts and Production) must have successfully completed 60 credit points of Level 1 subjects.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this subject, students should be able to:
  1. Exhibit a critical understanding of visual languages at work in contemporary culture
  2. Demonstrate a theoretical understanding of key concepts in visual research
  3. Exhibit competency in designing, conducting and presenting visual research
  4. Apply techniques of visual analysis to collected visual data
  5. Effectively utilise visual research findings in the development of original design concepts

Subject Content

Introduction to visual research: an overview of approaches (sociology, archaeology, anthropology, semiotics)
Creative referencing
Mood boards
Content analysis
Thematic analysis
Semiotics, Decoding and Recoding
Visual Rhetoric
Ethics in visual research
Visual ethnography


The following table summarises the standard assessment tasks for this subject. Please note this is a guide only. Assessment tasks are regularly updated, where there is a difference your Learning Guide takes precedence.

Item Length Percent Threshold Individual/Group Task
Visual portfolio 500 words plus images 20 N Individual
Portfolio of visual exercises Visual work, weekly exercises 40 N Individual
Visual project, presentation and reflection Visual work plus 3 minute video plus 150 word reflection 40 N Group

Prescribed Texts

  • There is no prescribed text for this subject. Each Lecture Topic will include a reference list that supports that topic and should be referred to as required by students in the completion of their work.

Teaching Periods


Parramatta - Victoria Rd


Subject Contact Michelle Catanzaro Opens in new window

View timetable Opens in new window