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ARTH 276: Studies in Western Art II: Evaluating Images

Visual Competencies

1.      The visually literate student evaluates the effectiveness and reliability of images as visual communications.

Learning Outcomes:

a. Evaluates how effectively an image achieves a specific purpose
b. Assesses the appropriateness and impact of the visual message for the intended audience
c. Critiques persuasive or manipulative strategies that may have been used in image production to influence interpretation
d. Evaluates the use of visual signs, symbols, and conventions to convey meaning
e. Analyzes the effect of image editing or manipulation on the meaning and reliability of the image
f. Determines the accuracy and reliability of graphical representations of data (e.g., charts, graphs, data models)
g. Evaluates images using disciplinary criteria

2.       The visually literate student evaluates the aesthetic and technical characteristics of images.

Learning Outcomes:

a. Evaluates the aesthetic and design characteristics of images (e.g., use of color, composition, line, shape, contrast, repetition, style)
b. Evaluates the technical characteristics of images (e.g., resolution, size, clarity, file format)
c. Evaluates the quality of image reproductions, based on indicators such as color accuracy, resolution, manipulation levels, and comparison to other reproductions

3.       The visually literate student evaluates textual information accompanying images.

Learning Outcomes:

a. Evaluates information that accompanies images for accuracy, reliability, currency, and completeness
b. Uses observation of visual content to evaluate textual information
c. Verifies information that accompanies images by consulting multiple sources and conducting research as necessary

4.       The visually literate student makes judgments about the reliability and accuracy of image sources.

Learning Outcomes:

a. Assesses reliability and accuracy of image sources based on evaluations of authority, and point of view or bias
b. Makes judgments about image sources based on evaluations of image and information quality
c. Critiques how an image source may create a new context for an image and thereby change its meaning


Source: ACRL Visual Literacy Standards

In-Class Exercise


1.      Search the image listed on the worksheet using both ARTstor and Google Images

2.      For Google Images, choose one of the search results to analyze.

3.      Fill in the chart below to note key differences.

4.      Be prepared to report your findings to the class.



Google Images

Rate the image resolution.  Are the details of the image clear or grainy? Which one is a higher quality image?




Are the colors, light, and balance accurate?




Can you tell if the image has been cropped or otherwise manipulated? If yes, in what way?




Comment on the image size. Is it large enough for study and research?




What information is provided about the image? Artist? Date? Original size? Medium? Where the image originally came from?




Are there copyright or other use restrictions? Explain.





Liaison Librarian Information

Angela Weaver's picture
Angela Weaver
Collins Library 131