Exploring Innovative Methods in Qualitative Geography: A Deep Dive into the VisQual Methodbox

The VisQual Methodbox, hosted by the Leibniz Institute for Regional Geography, is a comprehensive resource designed to enhance the visualization techniques used in qualitative geography. It aims to provide researchers, educators, and students with a variety of innovative methods to better understand and present geographical data. The Methodbox was conceived of in the scientific network Visualisation of Qualitative Geographies to serve as a repository of creative and effective methods for visualizing qualitative geographical data.

 Landing page of the VisQual Methodbox [https://visqual.leibniz-ifl-projekte.de/methodbox/]

Making complex data comprehensible

By offering detailed descriptions and practical examples, it helps users to implement these methods in their own work, thus fostering a deeper engagement with geographical information and making complex data more accessible and understandable, further assisting users by offering multiple ways to search and browse the website. Examples, amongst many, are for instance:

Exploring ‘Internal Images’ through Perceptional Exercises

This Methodbox-entry, authored by Nicola Richter, focuses on exercises that help individuals visualize and articulate their internal images. These exercises are designed to uncover personal and subjective interpretations of environments, which can be crucial for understanding diverse perspectives in geographical studies.

Values-Based Cartooning

Detailed by Sophie McKenzie, this technique involves using cartoons to express and explore values related to specific places or geographical themes. This method is particularly useful for engaging communities and stakeholders in discussions about local issues in a creative and approachable way.

Multidimensional and Embodied Mapping

Jana Wieser introduces a method that combines physical objects and spatial mapping to create a more embodied. This approach helps participants to physically interact with their environment, fostering a deeper connection and understanding.


Mirka Dickel and Nicola Richter present doodling as a tool for visualizing geographical concepts. Doodling encourages spontaneous and intuitive expression, which can lead to new insights and creative representations.

Video Documentary

Authored by Paul Hummel, Elisabeth Sommerlad, and Julian Zschocke, this method uses video documentaries to capture and present participants’ narratives. This approach allows for a rich, multimedia representation in geographical studies, bringing stories and landscapes to life.

Free accessible tools

The VisQual Methodbox is a free resource for anyone involved in qualitative geography and seeking for innovative ways to visualize qualitative data. By offering a diverse range of visualization methods, it supports the effective communication of complex qualitative geographical data and enhances the understanding of spatial relationships and phenomena. Whether you are a researcher, educator, or student, the Methodbox provides practical tools and inspiration to enrich your geographical work.

For more detailed information and to explore all the methods available, visit the VisQual Methodbox.

About the author

Dr Frank Meyer is a researcher in the research group „Geographies of Belonging and Difference“ at the IfL and a member of the project team of the DFG network „Visualising Qualitative Geographies“.

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