Editors’ perspective on the use of visual displays in qualitative studies

Norma I. Scagnoli, Susana Verdinelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Research indicates that visual displays in qualitative research are under-utilized and under-developed. This study aimed to reach a clearer understanding of this fact by learning from the perspective of seven editors in qualitative journals. Using a qualitative descriptive design this study explored what constitutes an appropriate and helpful use of visual displays, including examples from current practices, and recommendations in the use and creation of visual displays. This paper reveals new insights by experts and very knowledgeable personalities in the area of qualitative research. The experts’ vision provided information that favors inclusion of visuals in qualitative studies as well as reckons the need for enhancement of curricula in qualitative research education to involve teaching about and practicing alternative representations of data analysis including the use of visuals. This paper concludes with a new classification of visual displays based on their occurrence within a research report, and a list of the main criteria points used by editors for assessing the validity of visuals in qualitative research articles. Additionally, we include implications for qualitative researchers and educators interested to increase the use of visuals in qualitative articles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number10
Pages (from-to)1945-1963
Number of pages19
JournalQualitative Report
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 24 2017


  • Images
  • Interpreted visuals
  • Qualitative data analysis
  • Qualitative research editors
  • Visual display
  • Visualization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Cultural Studies
  • Education

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