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Crop / Soil Sci 506: Research Presentations

Crop / Soil Sci 506 Library Research Guide

Visual Literacy Standards

Visual Literacy

Visual literacy is a set of abilities that enables an individual to effectively find, interpret, evaluate, use, and create visual media.

Visual literacy skills equip a learner to understand and analyze the contextual, cultural, ethical, aesthetic, intellectual, and technical components involved in the production and use of visual materials.

A visually literate individual is both a critical consumer of visual media and a competent contributor to a body of shared knowledge and culture.

Want to learn more about what visual literacy is? Take a look at this 2:56 video:


Why is this important?

Visual literacy:

  • Indicates (to peers, instructors, potential employers) that you are aware of social and cultural contexts
  • Will help you tell and understand visual narratives
  • Can help protect against plagiarism, bad public relations, lawsuits, etc.
  • Better allows us to critical understand the media that we consume

A (Few) Do's and Don'ts for Using Images

Football vs. Oregon State

Washington State University. Office of University Publications and Printing (1952). Football vs. Oregon State [Online image]. Washington State University Libraries Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections.


Images are great way to liven up your presentation!

...But be critical about the images that you use in your presentation!

  • What type of information does your image provide? Think about your image in terms of aesthetics as well as its cultural context.
    • A poorly planned image can convey cultural bias, inability to understand issues of copyright and fair use, inability to understand technology, inability to understand issues of design, inability to understand issues of accessibility, and so much more! 
    • Think of your images as a unique focus point of your presentation and don't use images simply for filler.

That said, there is a lot to keep in mind when using images in your presentation.

  • Does your presentation qualify as "fair use?" It probably does if it's for a class project but if you want to share those images/slides in a job interview it probably doesn't.
    • Images should typically come from the public domain or utilize a usable Creative Commons license.
  • Does your image and presentation comply with accessibility guidelines for your institution or state?
    • It is a best practice to add alt-text to your images so as to facilitate access to screen readers.
  • Pay attention to file size. Very large images slow down webpage load times but images with a small file size may appear pixelated or blurry.
    • Use conventional file formats like JPG, GIFF, BMP, etc.
    • Use photos with contrast (as opposed to monochromatic images).
    • Crop your images so as to focus attention and eliminate unnecessary visual information.
  • Include a citation for your images which should be located either next to the image or below it.
    • Format your citation consistently and correctly. Use the in-text citation guidelines that are required by your class or research field.
    • The font size for your citations can be smaller than the other fonts on the slide, but it should be legible to the audience. 
    • Depending upon how you cite your images. you may need to include a list of sources with full citation information at the end of your presentation. 
  • Avoid images that look generic, stock, or like clip-art 
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