This article argues that comics have a potentially positive role to play in supporting the teaching of qualitative research methods in higher education. It tells the story of the creation and use of a short pedagogical comic. We begin with a brief review of the literature around the use of comics in teaching. Then we offer two first-person accounts. Independent researcher Helen Kara narrates her creation of Conversation with a Purpose, designed as a resource to support the teaching of qualitative interviewing. It contains the story of a student’s first real-world interview, with some deliberately ambiguous aspects, and some discussion questions. Then Jenni Brooks, a senior lecturer in sociology at Sheffield Hallam University, outlines her use of the comic in teaching undergraduate sociology students. Each author offers a brief reflection on her experience. We conclude that the use of comics has the potential to bridge the gap between classroom and practice for inexperienced qualitative researchers, and we encourage further research in this area.


Comics, Teaching, Pedagogy, Research Methods, Qualitative Interviewing, Qualitative Research

Author Bio(s)

Helen Kara (https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7348-0963) has been an independent researcher in health and social care for over 20 years. She writes and teaches on research methods and is an Honorary Senior Research Fellow at the Cathie Marsh Institute for Social Research, University of Manchester. In 2015 Helen was the first fully independent researcher to be conferred as a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: helen@weresearchit.co.uk.

Jenni Brooks (https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7735-3718) is a sociologist and social policy researcher with a background in social care. Her research focuses on the experiences of disabled and older people and the family and professionals who support them. She teaches about experiences of health, illness and disability. She is currently the Course Leader for BA (Hons) Sociology.


The authors would like to thank Dr. Katy Vigurs for constructive and helpful feedback on an earlier version of this article, and the TQR reviewers for constructive and helpful input on a later draft. We have no known conflicts of interest to disclose. Helen would like to thank Katy Vigurs, Gareth Cowlin and Sophie Jackson. Jenni would like to thank the students in her undergraduate research methods classes.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.





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