This guide offers basic information on using images in papers, theses, and dissertations. Reasonable use of images and media in teaching, course papers, and graduate theses/dissertations is generally covered by fair use. Researchers are expected to document each image (including their own) and its provenance/source to the best of their abilities. When possible, it is advisable to contact the owner or creator. Libraries, archives, and other organizations that own visual materials will often allow use of images in an educational setting without charging a fee.
The Visual Resources Association (VRA) in its statement on fair use of images for teaching, research and study notes that use of images in scholarship is fundamental to the advancement of collective knowledge. Thesis research adds original argument and places images in a different context from the original, typically aesthetic, aim of the copyright owner of the image. Inclusion of an image in a thesis frequently benefits the creator of that image and the creator of any work depicted in the image. The VRA suggests that researchers are best positioned to assert fair use if: