More ROLSI articles use images – but still a minority

Are we now publishing a great number of articles with images? I had casually formed the impression that more than half the articles in recent issues of ROLSI featured images of some kind. But on reflection this struck me as unlikely, so I decided to check – and while I was about it, to do a count from the earliest volumes I had to hand on my shelves.

ROLSI articles in total, and with images, per year since 1996

ROLSI articles in total, and with images, per year since 1996

The graph above tells the story.  As you can see, the number of images per volume (that is, per year) does grow, both relatively and absolutely.

In the 1990s, many issues of a volume would have no image at all – no diagram, drawing, chart or anything else. But now in the 2010s, it would be a very unusual issue which did not.

The first images were rather ad-hoc: the odd diagram or graph – or, in the case of Peter Weeks’ 1996 study of the rehearsal of a Beethoven passage, some musical notation. The very first uses of photographic images of the scene being analysed came in 2003, in separate papers by Makoto Hayashi and Junko Mori:

From Mori (2003)

From Mori (2003)


From Hayashi (2003)

Since then, photographic images have become routine. Some articles absolutely demand the images – for example, those whose analysis relies on facial expression or body posture.

Nevertheless, the majority of articles in current issues confine their analysis to speech, and images remain in the minority. It will be interesting to see if and when the growing interest in multi-media analysis tips the balance.


Hayashi, M. (2003)  Language and the body as resources for collaborative action: A study of word searches in Japanese conversation.  Research on Language and Social Interaction, 36(2), 109-141.

Mori, J. (2003). Construction of interculturality: A study of initial encounters between Japanese and American students. Research on Language and Social Interaction, 36(2): 143-184.

Weeks, P. (1996) A Rehearsal of a Beethoven Passage: An Analysis of Its Correction Talk. Research on Language and Social Interaction, 29(3), 247-290