Library & Information Science Research
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Although visual methods are emerging as a valuable and versatile tool in qualitative social studies research, confusion around terminology, options, and best practices persists. Consequently, LIS scholars who wish to employ innovative visual approaches in their research face barriers to discovering and deciding which visual options best suit their goals. Based on a review of the literature, this article identifies and describes the scope of participatory and nonparticipatory visual methods currently in use in the social sciences, with particular attention paid to LIS contexts. While visual methods bring clear benefits to qualitative research in terms of data quality, modes of expression, and alternate perspectives, challenges remain, including logistic issues of implementing visual study designs and ethical considerations.