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The European Journal of Communication Research

Ed. by Averbeck-Lietz, Stefanie / d'Haenens, Leen

IMPACT FACTOR 2018: 0.707
5-year IMPACT FACTOR: 1.151

CiteScore 2018: 0.86

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2018: 0.460
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2018: 0.580

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Volume 41, Issue 1


Different ways of seeing political depictions: A qualitative–quantitative analysis using Q methodology

Katharina Lobinger / Cornelia Brantner
Published Online: 2016-03-02 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/commun-2015-0025


Visual depictions of politicians play an essential role in the impression formation of the audience because they convey visual cues and attributes related to, for example, likeability or competence. This study examines the subjective audience evaluations based on the visual portrayals of a politician by using Q methodology, a qualitative–quantitative approach of audience research. Q-sorts of 33 different pictures showing a high-ranking European politician, along with personal interviews, were used to probe the audience’s perception of a favorable or unfavorable picture. Q factor analysis yielded four groups of participants. The audience groups differ regarding their expectation toward favorably depicted political behavior and the involved balance of professional political leadership competences, social competences, and personality. In addition, technical and formal representation strategies were identified as important visual cues, but not for all audience groups.

Keywords: visual communication; Q methodology; Q-sort; political representations; audience perceptions

About the article

Published Online: 2016-03-02

Published in Print: 2016-03-01

Citation Information: Communications, Volume 41, Issue 1, Pages 47–69, ISSN (Online) 1613-4087, ISSN (Print) 0341-2059, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/commun-2015-0025.

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