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Linking research and practice: qualitative social science data collection at a UK comics convention

Lookup NU author(s): Lydia Wysocki



This is the authors' accepted manuscript of an article that has been published in its final definitive form by Taylor and Francis, 2019.

For re-use rights please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.


The specific space of a comics convention has affected the design and methods of my qualitative social science research into readers’ readings of British comics. In this early-stage paper I first provide context to the comics convention (in this instance Thought Bubble in Leeds, UK) as a space not only for commerce and networking but also for research fieldwork. I then advance my comics-format questionnaire from my own intertwined identity as a researcher and practitioner, as an innovative data collection method that is well suited to the convention environment. Finally, in the context of the Prevent strategy’s reductive attempt to define Fundamental British Values I question whose voices are heard in defining ‘British comics’, a category for which there is no definitive list. Approaching the study of comics at the level of a medium goes beyond any single genre, format, or fandom affiliation, which have previously operated as constraints. Connecting the study of comics with sociocultural theories of language opens a connection between what readers read and how this influences their own understandings and constructions of national identity. As such I cautiously advance a critical social science approach to researching readers’ choices of what they read.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Wysocki L

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics

Year: 2019

Volume: 10

Issue: 5-6

Pages: 505-524

Online publication date: 06/10/2018

Acceptance date: 06/09/2018

Date deposited: 20/09/2018

ISSN (print): 2150-4857

ISSN (electronic): 2150-4865

Publisher: Taylor and Francis


DOI: 10.1080/21504857.2018.1524393

Notes: This work is part of my Economic and Social Research Council (North East Doctoral Training Centre) funded PhD. DISCLOSURE STATEMENT: In accordance with Taylor & Francis policy and my ethical obligation as a researcher I note here my ongoing practice as a comics creator and publisher. I do not consider this a conflict of interest. An earlier version of this paper was presented at Comics Forum conference (Leeds, 2017).


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