Skip to main content

Communicating your research as a comic strip - reflections


Last week I ran a session on 'Communicating your research as a comic strip' for the second time.

You can access my presentation above or via Prezi.

A few things didn't quite work the first time I ran the session (as blogged here).

Last time I got the attendees discuss their research in pairs and then have a go at starting a comic strip on their own. Feedback said it would be nice to discuss the ideas people came up with as a group. This time I asked them to pair up and try to draw a three panel comic strip about their research. I suggested they might want to use the structure of research idea (panel 1), current stage of research (panel 2) and what's next in their research (panel 3), as used in career story-boarding (Hooley, Law & Bentley, 2013).

The attendees were a little anxious about drawing to start with, but seemed to enjoy it once they got stuck in. A few used the suggested structure and others used it as a jumping off point to look at how they could communicate their research idea more clearly using illustrations. Then the group discussed how they had managed to portray their research. Participant feedback highlighted this as a really useful exercise to help them think about ways to effectively convey complex ideas.

One of the attendees, Brenda Padilla, has already put a comic strip up on her Departmental Blog, and I know others are working on ideas for how to use comic strips.

Some of the barriers to using comic strips were discussed, mainly:
- When is it appropriate to use a comic strip approach? I had suggested that posters, presentations and when communicating with the public might be suitable opportunities, but there is still the worry that it might not fit with particular Departmental/Discipline cultures. This is something each researcher would have to decide for themselves and/or find a venue where they felt safe to try out using cartoon illustrations to gauge the reaction.
- I'm not an artist! I think having a go at drawing a strip helped a little with this anxiety. I'm also of the opinion that the art doesn't have to be spectacular - it just has to clearly communicate an idea and this can be possible with stick men. However, some researchers might think that simple art might reflect badly on them and would prefer to hire a professional artist. Paying an artist is always going to be a barrier, especially for PhD students.

Overall the feedback was very positive, and we hope to run the session again later in the year.

Hooley, T., Law, B. & Bentley, K. 2013, Exploring the Turning Points in Researchers’ Lives: Using the three-scene storyboarding technique, CRAC, Cambridge.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Tips for overcoming writing procrastination

This blog post is based on a mini-workshop created for the Doctoral Writing Group. Many thanks to writer friends on Twitter and Facebook who contributed tips.


What's stopping you?
I don't have time!Keep a time diary for a few days.Is there anything you can drop or cut down on?Grab small amounts of time to write e.g. 20minsCan you write while waiting for things or commuting? I get distracted! Find a space/time to write.Turn off the internet or social media!There are apps that can help you with this.Use a routine or ritualSame time, place, music etc.Timed writing sessionsShut up & write sessions I don't know what to write... Planning Have you planned what you want to write?Structure of thesis/article/writingHave you broken it down into small enough sections?Do you know what the argument you want to make is?Do you need to go back to notes/planning/thinking stage? Lack of confidence/Impostor Syndrome It doesn’t have to be perfect!Write a first draft – get it finished – you can …

Finding our training

I had some feedback last week that searching PROSE is not the easiest way to find out what library training is on offer.

We sympathise with you! An alternative is to look at the list of training on our Researchers page

Or you can look at brand new guide to the Postgraduate Researcher Workshop Programme

If you have any questions about the training please email Selina or myself: librarians@le.ac.uk



Finding Company Reports Using Library Search

Company reports are an important source for anyone studying businesses and industries. We provide access to 100,000s reports through Mergent Online and Mergent Archive.  But we still hold print reports in the Library. These are mainly from banks, building societies and the transport sector.

You can find these reports with the print periodicals in the basement of the David Wilson Library.

To find them using the Library search follow the steps below.

1. Go to the Advanced Search. Change Material Type to 'Journal'.

2.To find a particular company use the name of company AND "annual report" or 
"annual report and accounts". Here's an example for the Alliance and Leicester Building Society:






3. To search for a sector, try Bank (or Building Society or Transport) AND "annual report" or 
"annual report and accounts". Use a date range if appropriate.



If you need any help finding information on companies, email us: librarians@le.ac.uk