Multimodal research

Since designing, creating or analysing a narrative environment requires paying attention to the ways in which narratives are woven together across many media, creating new modes of communication, narrative environment design could be argued to be a kind of multimodal practice.

Although the term ‘mode’ continues to be subject to debate, it is taken to refer to a set of socially and culturally shaped resources for making meaning. Kress and van Leeuwen, (2001) take mode to classify a ‘channel’ of representation or communication for which previously no overarching name had been proposed, for example, writing and image on the page, extending to moving image and sound on the screen, and speech, gesture, gaze and posture in embodied interaction.

A glossary of concepts that are of value in pursuing multimodal creativity and research has been developed under the aegis of the National Centre for Research Methods (MODE, 2012).


Kress, G. R. and Van Leeuwen, T. (2001). Multimodal discourse : the modes and media of contemporary communication. London: Arnold.

MODE (2012). Glossary of multimodal terms. Available at [Accessed 9 October 2017].

edited 9 October, 2017 by Allan Parsons