Study Shows Graphic Novels May Be More Effective Than Textbooks

A recent study conducted at the University of Oklahoma shows that graphic novels "may improve memory and be more effective in teaching students than a traditional textbook," reports The Oklahoman.

“Graphic presentation: An empirical examination of the graphic novel approach to communicate business concepts,” will soon be published in Business Communication Quarterly. In the study, 140 undergraduate business seniors were divided up and presented the same information--some as a graphic novel and some as standard text.

The graphic novel was apparently helpful in ways that one wouldn't necessarily expect, too, with those who read it better able to recall direct quotes than those who read traditional textbooks.

The graphic novel in question, Atlas Black: The Complete Adventure, was penned by Jeremy Short, who led the study. But lest you be skeptical of his motivations, Short writes traditional textbooks as well.

“With that kind of information, that really has a lot of implications about how we should be teaching business, how we should be teaching a lot of things, really,” Short said about the study's results, suggesting that this study may be the first of its sort directed at this particular type of learning.


Reading With Pictures, a nonprofit organization dedicated to using comics to help students of all ages learn, has participated in and publicized similar studies in the past. They've got a Graphic Textbook ready to ship later this year.

“All these forces are working together to change the game in terms of the way comics are used in education but Reading With Pictures wants to be a facilitator," Elder told us last year. "We want to accelerate that change, and that’s what we’re doing on the website. The Graphic Textbook is a vector for that, too. It’s a product, the sales of which underwrite everything else we do–but it’s a vector in and of itself.”