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Humanities & Social Sciences

Media Literacy 

Media refers to all electronic or digital means and print or artistic visuals used to convey a message. Media Literacy is the ability to encode and decode the symbols transmitted via media and synthesize, analyze, and produce mediated messages. When you are critiquing a peer's work, evaluating a source, or a social media post, you should consider the following questions: 
The Digital Image Guide (DIG) Method 
1. Review and describe the image.
Where, what, when, and who do you see represented in the image?

2. Review the text.
What textual information is provided (caption, date, and/or headline)?

3. React to the image.
How does the image make you feel?
1. Determine the source (creator, publisher, and/or website) of the image.
Who created the Image? Who owns and/ or published the image?

2. Determine the message of the image.
What is the message? Who is the intended audience?

3. Search for other online sources that further contextualize the image.
How does context (social, cultural, historical, and/or political) inform the image?
1. Think back to your first reaction to the image. 
How might your reaction impact how you view the image?

2. Refer back to the other websites that have published the image.
Has the image been misrepresented or manipulated?

3. Asses the reliability and accuracy of the image.
Is the image reliable or accurate? Why or why not?
1.  What judgments can you make about the image based on your evaluations above and the available information?
2. Do any of your biases or points of view impact how you view the image?
3. What is the purpose of this image (to inform, instruct, sell, entertain, enjoy, and/or persuade)? Why do you think so? 


Danna Statton Thompson, "Teaching Students to Critically Read Digital Images: A Visual Literacy Approach Using the DIG Method," Journal of Visual Literacy 38 no. 1 -2 (April 3, 2019) 110-19

Finding, Citing, and Using Images 

All images, photos, graphs, etc. in your essays should be directly relevant to your argument.  Select images that will:
  • Help your readers understand your point.
  • Illustrate your ideas.
  • Provide examples and evidence of your thesis.
Make direct references to your images in your essay. There are a few ways to do this:
  • “An example of this style can be seen in Figure 1.”
  • “This style was very ornate. (See example Figure 1)”
  • “Many chairs of this era, particularly the chairs at Versailles (Figure 1), were very ornate.”
There are two ways to organize your images: place them in your text next to the paragraph where you discuss them (Figure 1), or put them all together at the end of the essay (Figure 2).



Captions and Citations 


Images always need captions. Captions should do two things; label the image and tell us the image’s source. Here's an example of downloading a high-resolution image and citation in a few clicks! 




    Alongside other street vendors, artist David Hammons sold snowballs outside of Cooper Union in 1983.  

    David Hammons. Snow Ball Sale. 1983. JSTOR, Accessed 17 Jan. 2024.


Boston Architectural College, Learning Resource Center. Using and Citing Illustrations in Essays. 2015. 

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